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    ISAF, local officials differ over 5 killed in Sar-i-Pul

    SAR-I-PUL (PAN): NATO-led soldiers killed five civilians during an overnight operation in northern Sar-i-Pul province, local officials said, but the alliance insisted the dead were armed militants.

    The overnight offensive by foreign troops was carried out in Pusht Bagh village of Sayad district, the district chief, Sayed Mir Hassan Sajadi, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    He said five civilians were killed and as many others were missing in the offensive. "There are no militants in the village," the official insisted.

    Sayed Anwar Sadat, a member of the Parliament from the province, confirmed five people had been killed in the operation, but he was not sure whether the dead were civilians or insurgents.

    "All the victims are civilians including two farmers and two shepherds," Saraj, a representative of the village, said.

    The 309 Shaheen Military Corps commander, Gen. Zalmay, who visited the area, promised residents an investigation into the incident. 

    However, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in a statement said a top Taliban commander was among five rebels killed in Sar-i-Pul province after its soldiers raided a hideout.