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Afghan Government Says Int'l Operations Have Caused $100 Million In Damage

A U.S. soldier takes part in a foot patrol in Kandahar Province in early January.
An Afghan government delegation says Afghan and foreign troops have caused more than $100 million damage to fruit crops and homes during security operations in the southern province of Kandahar during the past year.

Led by President Hamid Karzai's adviser, Mohammad Sadiq Aziz, the delegation said international coalition forces had caused unreasonable damage to homes and orchards just as the harvest was about to begin.

But Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, said Taliban fighters had booby-trapped the orchards and empty houses of people who fled ahead of security operations, leaving troops no choice but to blow up those sites.

Ayoubi also said claims by villagers about the cost of damages were highly exaggerated.

International Security Assistance Force spokesman Brigadier-General Josef Blotz said he could not comment as he had not yet seen the delegation's statement.

compiled from agency reports