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Another Disputed US Strike Kills 14 in Afghanistan

The U.S. military says its forces killed 14 suspected militants in a clash in southeastern Afghanistan, but the local governor said the dead were security guards. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the U.S. attack, the latest in a series of incidents that have strained relations between the two allies. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Kabul.

Khost provincial governor Arsala Jamal says the armed men were protecting a road construction crew just two kilometers from a military base used by international forces.

He says the U.S. troops were conducting an operation and they hit three vehicles and then fired on the other guards.

A U.S. military spokesman said soldiers had been tracking three vehicles that were believed to be carrying militants. When soldiers attempted to stop and search the vehicles, the spokesman said gunmen opened fire.

A helicopter gunship then destroyed the vehicles. U.S. soldiers reported finding rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s in the wreckage.

U.S. and Afghan officials are investigating.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai released a statement condemning the incident, saying such attacks are creating distance between the Afghan government and people, and their international allies.

Last week, President Karzai condemned a U.S. airstrike that a joint Afghan-U.S. investigation concluded killed 37 civilians.

U.S. and NATO officials say Taliban forces now fire on international troops from populated areas to try to maximize civilian casualties.