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Afghan Cricket Star Reportedly Killed In U.S.-Led Raid

  • RFE/RL

Rahmat Wali, a 28-year-old former member of Afghanistan's national cricket team, reportedly was killed overnight during a raid on his home by coalition troops.

According to several Afghan officials, Wali was killed while the forces were searching his home in the village of Kheder Pirano west of Khost city -- the provincial capital of Afghanistan's southeastern province of Khost.

Khost Governor Arsala Jamal refused to comment on the reports other than to say that the former cricket player had been killed by international troops. U.S.-led coalition forces also had no immediate comment.

The head of the Khost Provincial Council, Austad Tajali, also told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that Wali was killed in the raid.

Aziz Malang Zazai, who heads operations in Khost Province for the Afghan Olympic Committee, told RFE/RL what he had learned about the incident.

"Overnight, at about 2 o'clock in the morning, coalition forces killed our best player, Rahmet Wali," Zazai said. "He had played on the Afghan national cricket team from 2002 to 2006. He took part in games that were played in Kuwait, India, and Pakistan. So he had made official trips to those countries as a representative of Afghanistan. And he brought honor to this country. He was martyred in his house. It was a cruel act."

There are conflicting reports about the exact circumstances of Wali's death, and an investigation has reportedly been launched.

This latest incident comes just hours after Kabul warned U.S. forces that it will try to regulate the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and their use of air strikes.

The Afghan government has complained for years about U.S. air strikes that cause civilians deaths, as well as raids by U.S. ground troops of Afghans' private homes.

The Afghan government is still reeling from an angry backlash from ordinary Afghans over a NATO air strike on a village in Herat Province on August 22 that reportedly killed 90 civilians.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sacked two Afghan military leaders for negligence in that case amid allegations that they wrongly told coalition forces they were targeting Taliban fighters.

Hamid Mohmand of RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan contributed to this report
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