Afghan member of parliament gunned down by police

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

KABUL – A member of the Afghan parliament was mistakenly killed in an early morning shootout between his bodyguards and police officers, officials said Wednesday.

Mohammad Yunos Shirnagha, a lawmaker from northern Baghlan province, was killed as he returned home around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, said provincial police chief Gen. Kabir Andarabi.

Officers were hiding in an area near the provincial capital, Pul-e-Khumri, where they expected militants to transport a Taliban commander wounded in fighting Tuesday, local police said. That battle left four police officers and four insurgents dead, according to police.

When Shirnagha's vehicle arrived in the area, police shouted for it to stop. When the driver did not stop, a gunfight broke out between police officers and bodyguards protecting Shirnagha, a member of Afghanistan's upper house of parliament.

The lawmaker's driver also was killed and one of his friends was wounded, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

President Hamid Karzai ordered the Interior Ministry to conduct an "urgent" investigation, according to a statement from Karzai's office. The ministry has sent its chief of counterterrorism, Abdul Manan Farahi, to the area to investigate.

Karzai spent the day visiting wounded Afghan soldiers and policemen and touring an academy for new police recruits. U.S. Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Afghan government officials joined Karzai at the training academy.

At the Afghan military hospital in the capital Kabul, Karzai visited wounded members of the nation's security forces. He also met the defense minister of Poland, which has pledged to send another 600 troops to join the 2,000-strong Polish force in Ghazni province.

In Helmand province Wednesday, a bomb killed three civilians and wounded five people, including a soldier, said Daud Ahmedi, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

A Taliban commander responsible for several roadside bomb attacks was killed in a clash with Afghan and international forces in Zurmat district of Paktia province in the southeast, according to a NATO statement.

The Defense Ministry, meanwhile, reported that four militants were killed in two separate operations Tuesday. In the Qarabagh district of Ghazni province, three insurgents were killed by a joint Afghan-international force, the ministry said. An Afghan army and police patrol killed a militant suspected of making bombs in Zabul province, the ministry said in a statement.

In Kandahar province, two civilians were killed and three wounded when a roadside mine explosion hit their vehicle on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said.


Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez and Jim Heintz contributed to this report.



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