Death of Karzai cousin in botched Nato raid stokes Afghan anger

Nato troops shot dead an aged relative of Afghan President Hamid Karzai after mistaking him for an insurgent, Afghan officials said yesterday, as anger continues to grow over civilian casualties. Haji Yar Mohammad, a second cousin of the President, was killed during a Nato night raid in the village of Karz in southern Afghanistan.

"While the operation was going on in the area, [he] walked out of his house and he was shot dead by mistake by Isaf forces outside his house," said Ahmed Wali Karzai, the President's brother and one of the most powerful men in southern Afghanistan. He told reporters that the incident was a straightforward mistake. "The forces conducted an operation, he was at his home, he came out and was shot," he said.

District governor Hamdullah Nazek said that two bodyguards and three neighbours were detained by international forces after the killing. "Haji Yar Mohammad was an elderly man predominantly occupied with farming and gardening," he added.

Nato said it was, "aware of conflicting reports about the identities of those involved" and launched an urgent inquiry into Yar Mohammad's death. The Alliance had initially claimed to have "captured a Taliban leader, killed one armed individual and detained several suspected insurgents" after ordering the occupants of a house in Karz to exit the building peacefully.

When they spotted a man "with an AK47 in an adjacent building" they "assessed the male as an immediate threat to the security force, and engaged him".

Despite an ongoing row with Nato's top commander in Afghanistan, US General David Petraeus over heavy civilian casualties, President Karzai and his family sought to play down the incident, saying it weighed no more heavily on him than the death of any innocent Afghan. "The President is sad to hear about another civilian casualty case, and has ordered an investigation," his spokesman said. "He calls on [Nato] to protect civilians rather than killing them."

Some family members already suspect foul play on the part of disgruntled relatives. Since the 1980s, President Karzai's extended family has been riven by a blood feud in which Yar Mohammad's 18-year old son Waheed was murdered 18 months ago.

In any case, the muted response belies the rancorous dispute that has erupted between Mr Karzai and General Petraeus, after two recent Nato air strikes in eastern Afghanistan that allegedly killed a total of 74 civilians.

After General Petraeus suggested that children admitted to hospital suffering burns in the wake of the first incident may have been dunked in boiling water by their parents, Mr Karzai reacted furiously.

Days later, when helicopter gunships opened fire on 10 boys collecting firewood, killing all but one of them, the President very publicly rejected a rare personal apology from General Petraeus, saying it was "not enough". Mr Karzai drove his point home by then accepting a separate apology from US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

Night raids and air strikes have been running at unprecedented levels since General Petraeus took charge of Nato forces in Afghanistan last year despite being enormously unpopular with the Afghan civilians whose safety Nato claims is its priority.

Although the coalition is responsible for a dwindling proportion of civilian casualties – the UN estimated there were 2,777 last year – those cases where it is responsible draw increasingly furious protests from Afghans weary of foreigners killing their countrymen.

Even though the UN found the Taliban responsible for three-quarters of last year's civilian deaths, and a wave of unusually deadly suicide bombings by the insurgents has killed about 200 people over the past six weeks, it is incidents involving Nato that spark greater outrage.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam