An American convoy suffered a militant ambush on a crowded Afghan highway Sunday, after which U.S. forces opened fire. Up to 16 civilians were killed and as many as 34 wounded in the chaos that followed. The U.S. military says it is possible that militants were responsible for the deaths, but one witness said U.S. soldiers fired on his car after he had pulled over to let them through.
A photographer and a videographer from the Associated Press were on the scene, but their images were forcibly deleted by an American soldier.
JALALABAD, Afghanistan—U.S. troops fleeing a militant ambush opened fire on civilians on a busy highway in eastern Afghanistan, wounded Afghans said. Up to 16 people were killed and 34 wounded in the violence, officials said.
A suicide car bomber hit the American convoy with an explosives-packed minivan, said Noor Agha Zawok, the spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, and militant gunmen then fired from several directions, the U.S. military said. The coalition forces returned fire, the military said.
It was not immediately clear if the Afghans were killed by the militants’ gunfire or that of the U.S. soldiers. One U.S. soldier was injured in the attack, and the military said 16 civilians died and 25 were injured.
Hundreds of Afghans gathered to protest the violence, blocking the road and throwing rocks at police, with some demonstrators shouting “Death to America! Death to Karzai,” a reference to President Hamid Karzai.