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    Security and Crime

    14 civilians killed in Helmand air strike

    KABUL (PAN): Women and children were among 14 civilians killed in airstrike by international troops in the southern province of Helmand, officials claimed on Sunday.

    The raid was conducted late on Saturday when militants attacked a base of US marines in the Salam Bazaar area of Nawzad district, the governor's spokesman told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    Fourteen people, including five girls, seven boys, and two women were killed when the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) struck two houses in the area, Daud Ahmadi, said.

    One woman was among six others injured in the raid, which came the day President Hamid Karzai ordered an end to "irresponsible" operations by foreign forces.

    Governor Gulab Mangal, meanwhile, strongly condemned the incident and asked the NATO-led soldiers to avoid attacks that caused civilian casualties. A delegation had been set up to investigate the raid, he said in a statement.

    "We are aware of reports that allege several civilians were killed following an ISAF airstrike in Nawzad. Regional Command Southwest has sent a joint assessment team to the area and will issue their findings in due course," ISAF said.

    The Taliban stormed a checkpoint of foreign troops in the village, but foreign troops targeted three civilian houses, inflicting casualties on non-combatants, said Noor Mohammad, who lost a family members.

    Fourteen people were killed and 10 others injured. Many of the victims were children and women, he alleged.

    The victims were taken to Lashkargah to show them to Afghan officials, said another resident, Hajji Janan. Some of the injured were airlifted to an ISAF medical facility, he concluded.

    myn/mud



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