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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 17:33 GMT
Poles charged over Afghan deaths
By Adam Easton
BBC News, Warsaw

Polish military vehicle in Afghanistan
Poland has 1,200 soldiers serving in Afghanistan
Seven Polish soldiers have been charged in connection with the deaths of six civilians during an attack on a village in Afghanistan this year.

Poland's chief military prosecutor said the troops had not come under attack from insurgents as previously thought.

The prosecutor said they violated international law when they opened fire on the village. Women and children were among the dead.

Six of the seven soldiers could face up to life in jail.

Earlier attack

The prosecutor said the seven soldiers were not in real danger when they launched mortar and machine gunfire at the village near the Pakistani border in August.

Several hours earlier a Polish patrol had been hit by a mine in a separate incident.

The accused men had originally said they were responding to an attack accompanying the mine explosion.

The prosecutor said the soldiers denied the charges but had admitted changing their statements.

Poland has 1,200 soldiers serving in Afghanistan as part of Isaf, the Nato force fighting the Taleban-led insurgency.

The Polish army has taken part in many international missions in recent decades but its soldiers have never before faced charges as serious as this.

SEE ALSO
Poles held 'over Afghan deaths'
13 Nov 07 |  Europe

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