Blaming “poor visibility”—not more than twelve years of a war without cause or purpose—Afghan officials say that U.S. Marines stationed in Helmand Province have shot and killed a four year old boy.
“As the weather was dusty, the marine forces based there thought he was an enemy and opened fire. As result of mistaken fire, he was killed,” Omar Zwak, spokesman for the governor of the southern province of Helmand, told Reuters.
In response, the Karzai government has called for an unilateral suspension of U.S./Nato military operations taking place in homes and villages.
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“We have called … for an absolute end to ISAF/NATO military operations on homes and villages in order to avoid such killings where innocent children or civilians are the victims,” said presidential spokesman, Aimal Faizi, referring to the latest killing of an Afghan child.
Further details of the incident were not available, but a NATO official said the incident would be investigated. Most media outlets connected the death of the young child to the ongoing negotiations between Karzai and the U.S. over a still unsigned Bilateral Security Agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain in the country long past the current end of 2014 deadline.
No word yet on how the parents, family or friends of the four year old boy killed feel about the possible extension of the U.S. presence.