A firefight between foreign troops and insurgents in Afghanistan last week reportedly led to the deaths of more than 50 civilians. The confrontation came in Kunar province, close to Pakistan, a region that has become a flashpoint for violence because of insurgent activity on the border. –JCL

Los Angeles Times:

Afghan officials and the NATO force on Sunday offered starkly differing accounts of a confrontation between foreign troops and insurgents last week amid the jagged peaks of eastern Afghanistan, with the provincial governor claiming that more than 50 civilians had been killed. The Western military said its findings indicated three dozen armed insurgents had died but promised to continue investigating.

Civilian deaths and injuries are among the most emotionally explosive points of division between the government of President Hamid Karzai and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Even though independent statistics compiled by the United Nations and other groups bear out the fact that most noncombatant deaths occur at the hands of the Taliban and other insurgent groups, many ordinary Afghans hold foreign troops directly or indirectly responsible. Incidents such as this one feed that fury.

The disputed deaths took place late last week in Kunar province, a volatile, mountainous region in eastern Afghanistan that lies close to the Pakistan border. It has long been a flashpoint for violence because of its position as a prime route for insurgents making their way into Afghanistan from Pakistan’s tribal areas.

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