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11 Afghan Children Among Dead in Latest US/NATO Bombing

Civilians 'killed when an air strike hit their houses'

- Jon Queally, staff writer

The lifeless bodies of Afghan children lay on the ground before their funeral ceremony, after a NATO airstrike killed several Afghan civilians, including ten children during a fierce gun battle with Taliban militants in Shultan, Shigal district, Kunar, eastern Afghanistan, Sunday, April 7, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)At least ten children are among the dead in eastern Afghanistan, according to officials in the country, following a NATO bombing overnight.

"Eleven children and a woman were killed when an air strike hit their houses," said Wasefullah Wasefi, a spokeperson for the governor of Kunar province, where the attack took place.

In total, reporting on Sunday indicated that more than two dozen people were killed in the latest example of civilian casualties in the ongoing US war in Afghanistan.

From Reuters:

A Reuters journalist saw bodies of 11 children when they were taken to Safai's office in protest by their families and other villagers on Sunday.

The journalist did not see the body of a women and Safai said residents told him of the death. Women's bodies are not displayed, according to custom.

Wasefi also said an American civilian adviser to the Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, had also been killed in the operation. He said it had lasted several hours.

NATO would not confirm the operation nor the claims that many children had been killed.

"Very little information about this strike has come out," said Al Jazeera correspondent Imtiaz Tyab.

"Al Jazeera has contacted NATO. We were told by a spokesperson that they were aware of the operation and that they have heard of some civilians who may have been injured in this strike."

Agence France-Presse reports:

The children were killed during a joint Afghan-NATO operation in the Shigal district of Kunar province which borders Pakistan late on Saturday.

"Ten children and eight militants were killed in the strike, six women were wounded," provincial spokesman Wasifullah Wasifi told AFP.

Al Jazeera reports that the air strike had been requested by coalition forces, not their Afghan allies. Adding:

Civilian deaths have been a long-running source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his international backers.

Karzai has forbidden Afghan troops from calling for air strikes and NATO advice crews not to fire at or bomb in populated areas.

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