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American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 12, 2010 - NATO's International Assistance Security Force in Afghanistan is expressing regret over civilian casualties that occurred today after a bus was driven toward a patrol of international troops, military officials said.
ISAF officials released a statement that says ISAF "deeply regrets the tragic loss of life" in the Zhari district of Kandahar province early this morning after troops fired at a bus in which the driver ignored warnings and tried to speed into the patrol.
Four civilians were killed, five others were treated for injuries at the scene, and 13 people checked themselves into medical facilities following the pre-dawn incident, which occurred when a large vehicle speeded toward the rear of a slow-moving ISAF route-clearance patrol, officials said. The convoy could not move to the side of the road to allow the vehicle to pass due to the steep embankment, officials said. The ISAF patrol warned off the approaching vehicle once with a flashlight and three times with flares, but the driver didn't heed the warnings. >
Perceiving a threat when the vehicle approached once more at an increased rate of speed, the patrol attempted to warn off the vehicle with hand signals prior to firing upon it. Once it was engaged, the vehicle stopped.
Upon inspection, ISAF forces discovered the vehicle to be a passenger bus. The ISAF patrol provided immediate medical assistance to five injured civilians and transported some of them to local medical facilities.
A combined Afghan-international incident assessment team is reviewing the events.
In other news from Afghanistan:
No shots were fired and no civilians were harmed during these operations, officials said.
(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)