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    Villagers say ISAF strike kills 9 children

    ASADABAD (PAN): Nine children were killed during a fresh air raid by foreign troops in Manogai district of eastern Kunar province on Tuesday, residents claimed.

    But the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) insisted the individual killed during the airstrike in the Nanglam Valley were Taliban militants.

    The dead were children, aged between 10 and 15, who were collecting firewood in the remote valley, resident Gul Nabi told Pajhwok Afghan News. He feared the death toll could be higher.

    Abdullah Hud, another resident of Manogai, confirmed the civilian deaths in the afternoon raid. He said that nine dead bodies had been brought to the area.

    The district police chief, Mohammad Rahman Bashardost, said a delegation had been dispatched to the scene for investigation. He added exact casualty figures would be known after the team's return.

    According to the ISAF media office in the region, the strike was conducted after an insurgent assault on their base in Manogai. The soldiers escaped unhurt and nine assailants were killed in the raid, it said.

    On Feb. 18, 64 civilians were killed during a similar strike in Ghaziabad district of the province. Afghan investigators said the dead included 20 women and 29 children.