Al Jazeera, April 7, 2013
NATO airstrike kills 18, including 10 children in Afghanistan
Airstrike on a village in eastern Afghanistan leaves at least 18 people dead, including 10 children
At least 18 people, including as many as 10 children, have been killed in an air strike in eastern Afghanistan.
Afghan officials said strikes happened overnight in Kunar province, during a joint operation between Afghan and NATO troops against Taliban fighters.
There were conflicting figures of the death toll with other news agencies.
Wasifullah Wasifi, the spokesman for the Kunar governor, confirmed the attack to Al Jazeera but gave a different death toll.
"We confirm a raid done by Afghanistan's intelligence service in the district of Shigal. In this raid, the security forces killed 20 Taliban in which 10 of them are very senior Taliban members," he told Al Jazeera.
He told AFP news agency said at least 10 children were killed in the strike in Shigal while euters news agency reported six Taliban fighters as being among those killed in the air strikes.
Al Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from the capital Kabul, said that joint forces entered houses in Shigal village in the early hours of Saturday and carried out raids in addition to the air strikes.
"Very little information about this strike has come out," said Tyab.
"Al Jazeera has contacted NATO. We were told by a spokesperson that they were aware of the operation and that they have heard of some civilians who may have been injured in this strike," said our correspondent.
A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Captain Luca Carniel, said they were aware of reports of civilian casualties and was assessing the incident.
Carniel said ISAF had provided "air support" during the operation but he said there had been no ISAF troops on theground. The air strike had been requested by coalition forces, not their Afghan allies, he said.
Civilian deaths have been a long-running source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his international backers.
Karzai has forbidden Afghan troops from calling for air strikes and NATO advice crews not to fire at or bomb in populated areas.
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