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Three Afghan civilians die in Nato air strike

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The issue of civilian casualties is a cause of serious tension between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers and is highly sensitive in Afghanistan. -AFP File Photo

ASADABAD: A child was among three civilians who died in a Nato air strike in eastern Afghanistan which also killed 14 insurgents, local officials said Wednesday.

The attack by the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) happened late Tuesday in the Dangam district of Kunar province, provincial governor Fazlullah Wahidi told AFP.

“Fourteen militants, among them some Arab and Pakistani nationals, and three civilians have been killed in last night's air strikes,” Wahidi said.

District governor Hamish Gulab said the civilians were two women and a child who died when a missile hit a gathering of insurgents in a house.

An ISAF spokesman confirmed that its troops had carried out air and ground operations on targets in Dangam, but added: “We are still gathering information.”

The issue of civilian casualties is a cause of serious tension between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers and is highly sensitive in Afghanistan, triggering frequent protests.

Kunar province, which borders Pakistan, has seen a string of civilian casualties as foreign forces target insurgents, including the deaths of nine children in another air strike for which the US apologised last month.

There are around 130,000 international troops in Afghanistan fighting a Taliban-led insurgency which has lasted for nearly ten years.

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