Afghan MP: US troops murdered my relative in raid

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The Independent Online

A female member of the Afghan parliament has said that US troops raided her home overnight and killed a neighbour who was one of her relatives, in an incident that sparked angry protests yesterday in the east of the country.

A spokesman for Nato forces in Afghanistan said Western and Afghan troops had raided a house in the area because of intelligence reports of insurgent activity there, and had then shot dead an armed man who had ignored commands to lower his weapon. A Nato spokesman, Master Sergeant Jeff Loftin, did not confirm whether the house belonged to Safia Siddiqi, an outspoken member of parliament from eastern Nangarhar province.

Night-time raids by Western troops and civilian casualties are among the most incendiary issues in Afghanistan, and the targeting of a female parliamentarian would raise the political temperature at a time when Nato is preparing a large offensive.

Ms Siddiqi said scores of US soldiers raided her home shortly before midnight. Inside the house, she claimed that they broke furniture and tied up family members, including her brother, for hours. Outside, they shot dead a neighbour, who was related to her by marriage.

"I will raise my voice. I am a member of parliament, my residence must be protected," Ms Siddiqi said. "This man had five children. The Americans have created five more enemies."

Scores of angry residents brought the dead man's body to a main road yesterday, chanting anti-American and anti-government slogans. They said they would not bury the body until they received a proper explanation of how he was killed.