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Errant US Bomb Kills 11 Afghan Civilians - 2003-04-09

A bombing raid by coalition forces in Afghanistan has killed 11 Afghan civilians.

A U.S. military spokesman says the "tragic incident" happened in the eastern province of Paktika, near the Pakistani border. He says American warplanes were attacking enemy forces outside the village of Shkin when a laser-guided bomb missed its intended target and landed on a house.

Seven women were among those killed.

The spokesman says the bombing is being investigated. He also says that coalition forces never intentionally target civilian locations. It is not yet clear what happened to the opposing fighters.

The fighting in the area erupted after unidentified assailants attacked an Afghan military checkpoint that was providing security to an American military base. The spokesman says coalition forces quickly reacted, and two warplanes pursued the attackers toward the border. Four Afghan soldiers are said to have been wounded in the clash.

Last July, 48 civilians were killed and more than 100 were wounded when U.S. war planes fired on a wedding party in a village in southern Afghan province of Uruzgan. The U.S. military said then that anti-aircraft fire from the area led to the attack.

Nearly 12,000 U.S. and allied troops are hunting down remnants of the deposed Taleban government and the al-Qaida terrorist network in Afghanistan. The militants are blamed for recent attacks throughout the country, mainly targeting American and Afghan government forces.

U.S. and Afghan authorities say Taleban and al-Qaida holdouts are re-grouping in an effort to destabilize the U.S.-backed government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.