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Afghan Officials:  Dozens of Civilians Killed in US Air Strikes in Country's West


Afghanistan's Interior Ministry says dozens of civilians have been killed in U.S. military air strikes targeting militants in western Afghanistan.

The U.S.-led coalition confirmed the operation in the Shindand district of Herat province Thursday. But it said 30 militants and no civilians were killed. U.S. officials say the clash began after troops were ambushed by militants while targeting a known Taliban commander.

In a statement Friday, the Afghan Interior Ministry said at least 76 civilians were killed in the operation, including women and children. Earlier, the Afghan Defense Ministry said five of the dead were Afghan civilians.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged international forces to change their strategy in the war on terror, saying NATO and U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan are only killing civilians.

Also Friday, the U.S.-led coalition said one of its soldiers was killed in eastern Afghanistan. Military officials did not provide other details about the incident or the soldier's nationality.

The U.S.-led coalition says its forces also carried out air strikes in northeastern Kapisa province Thursday, killing several militants.

Also, police say Afghan and foreign troops Thursday killed 11 militants during a clash in southern Uruzgan province.

And, NATO says its forces in Afghanistan fired multiple artillery rounds into neighboring Pakistan late Thursday, after the Pakistani military confirmed militants were preparing to fire rockets at a NATO base in eastern Paktika province. Troops were not able to confirm the number of militants killed because they were inside Pakistan.

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