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Afghan Police Kill Seven Boys Collecting Firewood

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) -- Seven Afghan boys were shot dead today by police who mistook them for insurgents, a provincial police official said.

The boys were collecting firewood when police opened fire on them in the border town of Spin Boldak, southern Kandahar Province, Abdul Raziq, police commander for the town, said.

The police had been detained and were being questioned, he said.

Spin Boldak has been an entry point for Pakistani insurgents who infiltrate Afghanistan to stage attacks against the government and international forces.

Last year, 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed in Taliban attacks and Afghan and NATO-led operations, according to the United Nations.

The killing of civilians is a sensitive issue and President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly warned that civilian deaths sap support for his administration and for the presence of some 115,000 foreign troops in the country.