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Afghan Official: 28 Civilians Killed in Recent Air Strikes


Afghan officials say more than 28 civilians, including women and children, were killed Thursday in air strikes by international troops in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province.

Gereshk district chief Abdul Manaf Khan says the air strikes were called in after hours of fierce fighting in the village of Kumbarak late Thursday. Khan says most of the victims were killed while fleeing the air strikes.

He originally identified the foreign troops as NATO forces, but NATO says it is not aware of any such incident.

On Thursday, the U.S. military said coalition forces killed more than 50 insurgents during the 12-hour battle in Helmand province that included air strikes. A statement from the coalition said there were no military deaths.

Violence has surged in Afghanistan during the past 18 months - the bloodiest period since U.S.-led troops overthrew the Taleban in 2001.

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