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Civilian Deaths Reported During US Airstrikes in Southern Afghanistan


Afghan officials and residents say civilians are among the dead and wounded following U.S. coalition airstrikes in southern Afghanistan.

The U.S. military in Afghanistan says Thursday's strikes in a remote area of Baghran district in Helmand province targeted two Taleban commanders. A statement said there were no civilians in the area.

It also said the fate of the commanders was not known.

A provincial police chief, Mohammad Hussein Andiwal, says there were heavy casualties during the strikes but did not know exactly how many Taleban militants and Afghan civilians were killed. Residents in Baghran district say as many as 200 civilians died.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed during NATO and U.S. military operations against insurgents. Angry Afghans have protested and President Hamid Karzai has called the situation unacceptable.

Mr. Karzai is scheduled to meet with President Bush at the Camp David presidential retreat north of Washington on Sunday and Monday.

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

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