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Military Investigates Possible New Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan


The U.S. military says it is investigating reports that another coalition airstrike killed civilians in northwestern Afghanistan Thursday, after similar accusations on Wednesday.

Afghan authorities said the latest strike killed 15 Taliban militants and at least seven civilians in the Ghormach district of Badghis province Wednesday.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman says U.S. forces are working quickly with Afghan officials to determine the facts of possible civilian casualties.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to make it his priority to stop civilian deaths. He made the plea Wednesday after residents in southern Kandahar province said an international air strike killed around 40 civilians in the Shah Wali Kot district attending a wedding.

Residents there accused Taliban insurgents of attacking coalition forces first and then using civilians as a shield.

U.S. and NATO-led operations against militants in Afghanistan have caused scores of civilian deaths this year, prompting growing criticism from the Kabul government.

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