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4 Killed as Special-Forces Troops Raid Hospital in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Four people were killed during a special-forces raid at a charity-run hospital in Afghanistan on Wednesday night, according to government and army officials.

The deadly incident occurred in the Day Mirdad district of Wardak province.

Image: Map showing Day Mirdad
Map showing the location of Day Mirdad district of Afghanistan's Wardak province. Google Maps

A spokesman for the province's governor and an Afghan special forces source both told NBC News that four suspected militants had been killed during a firefight at the site. A fifth was captured.

The Swedish Committee of Afghanistan — the non-governmental aid group which runs the medical center — said that three people were fatally shot by special-forces troops outside the hospital.

"They searched the facility and arrested two injured patients as well as a caretaker for the patients, and took them out and shot them," Swedish Committee spokesman Mohammad Salah Mohmand said, adding that the group was aware of a fourth death nearby.

NBC News could not immediately account for the disparity in the accounts.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists, the Afghan special forces source said that fighters opened fire on troops during a raid targeting a Taliban commander who was receiving treatment at the clinic. The target was later arrested.

The Swedish Committee declined to say whether those killed in the operation were Taliban fighters and condemned the raid in the "strongest terms".

"For us, any injured person is a patient and [there's]no difference between a combatant and civilians," Mohmand said.

The NATO military operation in Afghanistan said it had played no role in Wednesday's raid.

"At this time we have no operational reporting of any coalition or U.S. activity in the vicinity of any hospitals in Wardak," U.S. Army Col. Michael Lawhorn said in a statement.

In December, an accidental U.S. airstrike on a charity-run hospital killed 42 people in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

FROM OCT. 15: Aftermath of U.S. Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan 1:23