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Afghan Officials Say Civilians Killed in US Airstrike

30 June 2007

Afghan officials say a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in southern Afghanistan has killed several civilians and Taleban militants.

Local officials say dozens of people were killed or wounded, with Taleban militants among the dead, when airstrikes targeted militants in a village in southern Helmand province.

Coalition officials say a team has been sent to the area to investigate.

Last week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused NATO and U.S.-led forces of carelessly killing 90 civilians in recent operations against the Taleban.

The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, William Wood, told VOA that Taleban militants are to blame for many civilian casualties. He said they involve civilians in attacks and sometimes make up claims of civilian deaths.

On Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, where he met with President Karzai and other officials.

U.N. officials said Mr. Ban's visit - his first to Afghanistan as U.N chief - was designed to ensure coordination between the United Nations and the Afghan government.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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