Troops in Afghanistan killed seven suspected al-Qaeda operatives early yesterday in a gunbattle in which a child was also shot dead, the coalition said, amid claims the dead were all civilians.
The shootout erupted in eastern Kunar Province, about 20km from the border with Pakistan, when US-led coalition and Afghan troops went to the area to capture a "known al-Qaeda facilitator."
"Our forces arrived in the area and were immediately fired on. We returned fire, killing seven al-Qaeda fighters," spokesman Colonel Thomas Collins said.
A child aged between 10 and 12 years old was also killed and a woman wounded, he said, adding, "We are trying to determine who they were and what they were doing there."
The woman was taken to a coalition medical facility.
Reports from the district said the seven dead men were civilians who had gathered to settle a dispute between two families.