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Afghan Provincial Governor Says 21 Civilians Killed in NATO Air Strike


The governor of the southern Afghan province of Helmand says a NATO air strike has killed 21 civilians there.

The governor says women and children were among the victims in the overnight raid in Sangin district. NATO has not confirmed the report.

The U.S.-led coalition said Wednesday, one of its soldiers was killed in Sangin Tuesday night.

Helmand is a Taleban stronghold and the heart of Afghanistan's opium-producing region.

Coalition and Afghan soldiers have been fighting Taleban militants since a U.S.-led invasion pushed the group from power in 2001.

On Tuesday, a U.S. military commander, Colonel John Nicholson, apologized for the killings of Afghan civilians by U.S. Marines in early March.

He said the U.S. government paid compensation to the families of the 19 victims. Fifty people were wounded in the violence.

A U.S. investigation found the Marines fired indiscriminately into a crowd after their convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber near Jalalabad province.

Separately Tuesday, Afghan lawmakers approved a motion urging the government to hold direct talks with Taleban militants and calling for international troops to stop military operations against the Taleban.

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