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Polish Soldiers Cleared Over Deaths Of Afghan Civilians

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski (right) stands with governor of Ghazni Province Musa Khan Akbarzada (center) as he visited reconstruction work and Polish soldiers in Afghanistan in June 2010.
Seven Polish soldiers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan have been declared innocent by a Polish military court.

The trial is said to be the first trial for war crimes in Europe involving troops fighting the Taliban.

The judge said prosecutors had not presented enough evidence that the soldiers had committed a war crime.

Six civilians died when the soldiers opened fire with mortars and automatic weapons on the village of Nangar Khel, in southeastern Afghanistan.

Prosecutors had said the killings were a "deliberate act" and had sought prison sentences ranging from five to 12 years for the accused.

The soldiers, members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said they were responding to a Taliban attack and had misfired.

Prosecutors said the firing occurred several hours after the Poles responded to a Taliban attack.

The trial had been ongoing since February 2009.

compiled from agency reports