KABUL // Nato-led soldiers killed four civilians today after opening fire on a car that did not stop at a checkpoint in volatile southern Afghanistan, the alliance's force said. Another three civilians were wounded in the shooting in the Sangin district of Helmand province, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement. "ISAF soldiers opened fire on a vehicle that failed to stop at a checkpoint earlier today, killing four civilian occupants and wounding three others," it said.
"ISAF soldiers fired warning shots in a safe direction away from the vehicle but were eventually forced to fire at it when it refused to stop, fearing an insurgent attack." There have been several such incidents in recent years with international forces here to help Afghanistan fight a Taliban-led insurgency a key target for suicide bombings and other attacks. Troops warn civilians to keep away from their convoys and checkpoints, but sometimes people fail to heed the warnings apparently unaware that they are seen as a threat.
Helmand is one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan, with Taliban insurgents active in the area and said to be involved in the opium trade. The drug is heavily produced in the province. On Thursday, a UK army dog handler and his explosives sniffer dog were killed in Sangin after their patrol came under fire, said the Ministry of Defence in London. *AFP