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NATO Chief:  Afghan Civilian Deaths in Allied Airstrike to be Investigated


NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is calling for an investigation into the death of civilians in southern Afghanistan following an allied airstrike.

But, the NATO secretary general put the blame on the Taleban, saying it uses civilians as human shields. Scheffer added that NATO is assessing its rules of engagement.

An Afghan police official said a NATO air strike late Thursday killed 25 civilians, including women and children, in southern Helmand province. NATO and the police chief said the airstrike was carried out after allied forces were attacked by Taleban insurgents.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said NATO and the separate U.S.-led coalition must do more to stop the killing of civilians during military operations against insurgents.

This week, a coalition of Afghan and western aid agencies said 230 civilians have been killed this year alone, caught up in the cross-fire of military operations by international forces in Afghanistan.

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