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KABUL: A Nato air strike killed 10 civilians, mostly women or children, Afghan officials said yesterday.
Nato forces said they were investigating the claims. “We take every allegation of civilian casualties very seriously,” a spokesman said. If the deaths are confirmed, it will be another blow to the prestige of US-led forces as they prepare to withdraw from the war against Taliban Islamist insurgents by the end of next year.
The civilians were killed by a Nato air strike during an overnight raid on a Taliban hideout in a remote eastern region, officials said. “Five children, four women and a man were killed,” Kunar provincial Governor Sayed Fazulullah Wahidi said.
Four children were wounded in the raid, Wahidi said.
Three Taliban commanders, including an Al Qaeda-linked militant leader called Shahpoor, were also killed, said District Governor Abdul Zahir. He said the civilians were killed in the raid in support of a ground operation by US-led coalition and Afghan forces in a Taliban-controlled valley.
It was not clear if the owner of the targeted house was a member of the Taliban or a civilian, but the Taliban were visiting when the home was attacked, he added.
The Taliban often force villagers to provide them with food and shelter. Civilian casualties caused by Nato forces are a sensitive issue and regularly condemned by President Hamid Karzai. afp