nato-troops-afghanistan-reu-670
Nato troops in Afghanistan. — Photo Reuters

KANDAHAR: Afghan officials said Monday that a Nato air strike killed three children while it was targeting Taliban insurgents planting mines on a road in southern Afghanistan.

Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) confirmed an air strike in Helmand province's Nawa district on Sunday, saying that three insurgents died and it was investigating reports that children were also killed.

“Two Taliban mine-planters were identified and targeted by Isaf from the air and killed,” district police chief Ahmad Shah Khan told AFP.

“Three children, two boys and a girl, who were nearby collecting firewood were also killed,” Khan added.

Farid Ahmad Farhang, a spokesman for Helmand police, confirmed the incident and said the raid killed two insurgents and three children.

Civilian casualties caused in Nato operations against insurgents are a sensitive issue in relations between the US-led force and the government of President Hamid Karzai.

Karzai often reacts angrily, arguing that such incidents turn people against his administration amid an ongoing insurgency by Taliban trying to bring him down.

Thousands of civilians are killed in the war each year, with the United Nations saying the vast majority of such deaths are caused by insurgents.

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