October 24th, 2007 10:06 EST
Nomad child, NATO soldier among new dead in Afghanistan
KABUL (AFP) - A nomad child in a tent was killed in a battle between US-led troops and rebels in Afghanistan Tuesday while the NATO-led force looked into claims it had killed a dozen civilians in an air raid.
A soldier with NATO`s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and an Afghan interpreter were meanwhile killed in separate incidents linked to efforts to defeat extremist insurgents, notably from the hardline Taliban.
The child was found dead after coalition soldiers opened fire at the nomad tent when they came under attack from a gunman inside, the US-led coalition said in a statement.
"After searching the tent where the militant fired at coalition forces, the body of a deceased child and four wounded children were discovered," spokesman Major Chris Belcher said in the statement.
The soldiers had been searching the camp in the southern province of Zabul on "credible intelligence" that men there had ties with militant forces.
The wounded children were taken for medical treatment, the force said.
Five militants were killed and three men were detained after the operation in Jaldak, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Kabul, it said.
ISAF said separately it was looking into claims that 13 civilians were killed in a bombing raid on Monday 50 kilometres west of Kabul, although it had no reports of such casualties.
The Afghan defence ministry said "12 enemies of the people were killed" in the strike near Jalrez town in Wardak province.
The head of the Wardak provincial council, Haji Janan, said 13 villagers were killed, including 11 from one family.
ISAF had people in the area talking to villagers "to make sure there were no civilian casualties," spokesman Major Charles Anthony said.
The air raid was called in against "more than 50 anti-government militants actively preparing an ambush," an ISAF statement said. The bombs killed "numerous enemy personnel," it said.
ISAF and the US-led coalition have been accused of killing hundreds of civilians in their pursuit of rebels including the Taliban whose regime was ousted from power in a US-led invasion in 2001.
Insurgents have killed hundreds more in suicide attacks that are aimed at security forces but end up killing more civilians.
In another incident linked to daily battles between extremists and Afghan troops backed by foreign soldiers, an Afghan interpreter was killed after a bomb hit a coalition convoy in volatile Ghazni province south of Kabul.
A second bomb struck soldiers who came to secure the scene of the first attack and some soldiers were slightly wounded, the coalition`s Master Sergeant Chris Fletcher told AFP.
The 37-nation ISAF said meanwhile that one of its soldiers was killed and two wounded in rugged northeastern Afghanistan during an operation to "disrupt extremist activities."
It did not release the nationalities of the soldiers, leaving this up to their home nations. Around 185 international soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan this year, most of them in hostile action.
A coalition soldier was meanwhile killed in a vehicle accident near the Kandahar Airfield base in southern Afghanistan, the coalition said.