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NATO, Afghan Forces Kill 27 Taliban in Western Afghanistan

Afghan military officials say NATO and Afghan forces killed at least 27 suspected Taliban insurgents in fighting and airstrikes Tuesday in western Afghanistan.

Afghan General Jalandar Shah Behnam says joint forces launched an operation against a militant stronghold in Badghis province early Tuesday.

Behnam says fighting continued into the afternoon. He says one Afghan soldier was also killed and at least six other soldiers were wounded.

Insurgents had been attacking a road project linking the region to Kabul.

Meanwhile, the NATO-led international security force says it is investigating the deaths of civilians in clashes with insurgents elsewhere in Afghanistan.

The force says an Afghan child was killed and three were wounded Tuesday during fighting in Kapisa province. The force says it is unclear which side caused the casualties.

The international security force also says that an airstrike Monday in Helmand province killed four suspected insurgents and four civilians, including two women, a child, and an elderly man. The airstrike targeted a compound being used by insurgents to fire at international troops.

In other developments, Afghan lawmakers say President Hamid Karzai used a closed meeting to lash out at Western critics of his government.

The Afghan leader is reported to have said the Taliban will become a "legitimate resistance movement" if outside meddling in Afghan affairs continues.

The lawmakers say Mr. Karzai also suggested he might join the Taliban if outside pressure does not stop.

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