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Afghan lawmaker says relative killed after U.S. soldiers raided her home

By Joshua Partlow and Javed Hamdard
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, April 29, 2010; 9:52 AM

KABUL -- A member of the Afghan parliament said U.S. soldiers raided her home and killed her relative early Thursday morning, the latest controversial allegation of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

The confrontation at the home of lawmaker Safiya Sidiqi set off an angry protest in the Surkh Rod district of eastern Afghanistan, with residents blocking the highway to Kabul for hours and shouting "death to America."

In a statement, NATO officials said a patrol with international and Afghan troops killed "one armed individual," while chasing a Taliban facilitator in the district. They said they tried to get him to lower his gun with hand signals and commands through a translator.

"The individual ignored the repeated commands, raised his weapon and aimed at the combined force, and then was shot and killed," the statement read.

Sidiqi said that story was false. She said she was in Kabul when she received a late-night phone call from her brother, saying he believed a gang of thieves was approaching the family home near the village of Nazrabad.

"He said 'people are entering our house.' Then the phone disconnected," she recalled.

After repeated calls to Nangarhar police officials and relatives over the next several hours, Sidiqi said, she learned that dozens of Afghan and U.S. soldiers had entered the family compound, blindfolded and handcuffed men and women, and shot her relative, whose name was Amanullah, as he stood in a doorway leading to the garden. Based on those accounts, she said, she did not believe her relative was armed.

Sidiqi described Amanullah, who like many Afghans goes by only one name, as the husband of her sister-in-law's sister. He was a car mechanic, about 30 years old, with five children.

"They shot him six times. In his heart, in his face, in his head. Both legs were broken," Sidiqi said Thursday as she waited for his funeral to begin.

Sidiqi said the soldiers searched her home with a dog. They broke windows, locks and furniture, she said.

She has spoken with NATO officials, the provincial governor, several cabinet ministers, and the office of the president about the raid. She said she would try to prosecute the soldiers.

"I want justice for his small children who are left behind," she said.

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