GHWANDO, Afghanistan (AP) – Following up on a death threat, Taliban militants broke into a house and fatally shot two teachers and three other family members, bringing to 20 the number of educators slain in attacks this year, officials and a relative said Saturday.

A NATO spokesman, meanwhile, said an investigation had begun into allegations that British troops fired at civilians, killing one and wounding six, after a suicide bombing attack on their convoy last weekend.

The Taliban attack on two teachers, who were sisters living in the same house, happened overnight in a village in the Narang district of eastern Kunar province.

After climbing over the home’s outer wall with a ladder, gunmen killed the two teachers, their mother and grandmother and a 20-year-old male relative and wounded another younger male relative, said Dr. Ghaleb, a family relative who like many Afghans goes by one name.

The sisters had been warned in a letter from the Taliban to quit teaching, said Gulam Ullah Wekar, the provincial education director. It warned the women that their work as teachers went against Islam, and if they continued they would “end up facing the penalty.”

The Taliban militia, which banned girls from going to school during its rule, opposes any education for females and nonreligious education for anyone.

So far this year, 20 teachers have been slain in Taliban attacks this year, said Zuhur Afghan, spokesman for the Education Ministry.

He said 198 schools had been burned down.

In the south, Capt. Andrew Salloum, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, said an inquiry is looking into whether British troops may have shot innocent civilians while speeding away after a suicide car bomb attack on their convoy in Kandahar on Dec. 3.

At least one civilian was killed and six wounded by gunfire, doctors said last week.

Salloum said it was standard procedure to open an investigation when “a situation like that occurs and civilians are killed and there are allegations of ISAF wrongdoing.”

AP-ES-12-09-06 1054EST


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