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World Briefing / AFGHANISTAN

Karzai ally dies in clash with troops

September 19, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

NATO-led troops killed an ally of President Hamid Karzai in southern Afghanistan in an overnight gun battle, officials said. Karzai said the death resulted from a "misunderstanding between foreign and local forces."

Ruzi Khan Barakzai, former police chief of Oruzgan province and a tribal leader and militia commander, was killed Wednesday outside Tirin Kot. Australian special operations troops serving with NATO's International Security Assistance Force said they were fired upon and shot back. No Australians were wounded. Afghan police said Barakzai and two bodyguards were killed.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army announced that a Special Forces soldier will be court-martialed next year on charges that he killed an Afghan civilian and cut off his ear in March near a remote village.

Master Sgt. Joseph D. Newell, 38, of Tecumseh, Mich., was arraigned Wednesday.

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