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Pentagon Calls Air Strike in Western Afghanistan 'Legitimate'


The United States says a coalition airstrike in Afghanistan that killed civilians as well as militants last week appears to have been a legitimate attack on Taliban forces.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense, Bryan Whitman, Monday said an investigation into the strike is ongoing. But he said, to this point, the Pentagon believes the attack legitimately targeted militants.

Whitman added that troops have confirmed that there were some civilian causalities. He noted that the death toll is still in dispute.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says about 90 civilians were killed during Friday's strike in Herat province's Shindand district.

On Sunday, Mr. Karzai fired two senior army commanders, the top army general for western Afghanistan, General Jalandar Shah Behnam, and a commando major, Abdul Jabar, in connection with the joint U.S.-Afghan air strike.

Mr. Karzai has described the military assault as "irresponsible and imprecise."

Afghanistan's Defense Ministry has said the raid killed its main target, Taliban commander Mullah Siddiq.

In other news Monday, Denmark says one of its soldiers in Afghanistan died from wounds he sustained when his vehicle was struck by an explosive.

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