U.S.-led troops kill Afghan boy during search operation

U.S.-led troops accidentally shot to death an Afghan boy during a search operation in eastern Afghanistan Wednesday, the military said.

The boy was killed when troops from the American-led coalition opened fire as they pursued a suspected bomb-maker in a village near Asadabad, 190 kilometers (120 miles) east of Kabul, the military said in a statement.

"When troops approached the suspect's house, the suspect and two armed men fled while shouting out an apparent attempt to rally others in the village," the statement said.

"When it appeared that the insurgents were taking up firing positions, coalition forces engaged them with small-arms fire. The boy, who village elders said was a transient, was killed during the fire," it said.

The boy appeared to be aged between 10 and 14, the military said, adding that the incident was under investigation.

Afghan leaders have complained repeatedly of heavy-handed tactics by U.S. forces still searching for suspected militants more than three years after the Taliban were ousted for offering a haven to al-Qaida.

Civilians have been killed in a string of botched raids which U.N. officials and human rights groups say play into the hands of anti-government rebels.

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