KABUL, Afghanistan – The international Special Forces military team that targeted a Kabul office complex on Friday thought it was thwarting a holiday season plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy.

But the pre-dawn raid that left two security guards dead uncovered no explosives, no plot and no evidence that the building’s occupants — employees with an Afghan armored-car firm that has been working with the U.S. military for nearly a decade — were scheming to attack American diplomats.

Instead, the operation brought the issue of night raids directly into the Afghan capital. The country’s Interior Ministry on Sunday accused U.S.-led forces of flouting the law and company officials challenged NATO’s version of events.

“I asked them ‘What do we tell the families?’” Nawid Shah Sakhizada, vice president of Tiger International, the company at the center of the raid, said Sunday.

“I told them, ‘You did not kill two cows. You killed two human beings,”‘ said Sakhizada, who was in the office during the confrontation.

The U.S.-led military has dramatically expanded night raids to target Taliban insurgents across Afghanistan. While NATO commanders say the raids are an essential — and largely successful — tactic, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has consistently questioned the wisdom of the operations.

Since mid-September, Special Forces with the U.S.-led military coalition have conducted at least 1,780 such operations that have ended with the death or arrest of 880 insurgent leaders and the capture of more than 2,300 fighters, according to NATO.

But it is rare for such raids to take place in Kabul, where Afghan security forces have taken the lead in protecting the city.

On Sunday, Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry accused NATO of flouting an international agreement that requires Afghan security forces to be at the forefront of any such operations in the capital.

The Afghan government immediately disciplined two high-ranking Afghan security officials who helped the coalition carry out the raid without properly advising local police forces.

In the pre-dawn hours Friday, a NATO team, joined by 18 Afghan colleagues, converged on the office complex. They suspected that two vehicles parked outside were packed with explosives in preparation for an attack on the U.S. Embassy.

As the military force closed in on the parking lot filled with Tiger International vehicles, the U.S.-led military said that gunmen in the building opened fire. The short firefight ended with two Afghan security guards bleeding to death on the asphalt.

After hearing the NATO version of events, Sakhizada and his company Sunday accused the Special Forces of firing first when the firm’s Afghan guards came out of the building to find out what was going on.

While heading downstairs past a window overlooking the parking lot, Sakhizada said the soldiers opened fire and seriously wounded one of his security guards.

After forcing the surviving guards to surrender, the NATO-led team scoured the area and found no evidence that the company was involved in a plan to attack the U.S. Embassy.

Sakhizada said the soldiers apologized after finding nothing and cautioned the company not to speak to reporters. But company officials refused to remain quiet.