KABUL, Afghanistan – An explosion Sunday in a province west of Kabul killed at least seven civilians as they tried to pull bodies from the rubble of a mosque after a night raid by Afghan and NATO special forces, Afghan officials said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the blast in the Sayed Abad district of Wardak province.
Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said Taliban militants fired on the joint force from inside the mosque in Hasan Khail after an insurgent was detained elsewhere.
During the exchange of fire, he said, explosive vests worn by the militants detonated, killing four of them. The later explosion that killed the villagers, including a woman, took place about 90 minutes after the operation ended, he said.
“ISAF is aware of reports that Afghan civilians were killed and injured after the operation,” said U.S. Army Col. Thomas Collins, an International Security Assistance Force spokesman. “We take all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and in coordination with Afghan officials will determine the facts of what happened.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in an emailed statement, accused the international force of killing 12 civilians and injuring two others in two airstrikes against the mosque.