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NATO Strike Kills 6 Afghan Civilians

Afghan men stand in the yard of a house that was partly destroyed after an air strike in Nangarhar province, February 21, 2011

Afghan officials said Monday that a NATO air strike targeting three insurgents planting mines on a road killed six members of the same family in eastern Nangarhar province.

A spokesman for the provincial governor said a missile from the attack late Sunday mistakenly hit a house, killing four children and their parents. The NATO-led force expressed deep regret over the loss of life in Nangarhar province.

The incident came a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused NATO troops of killing as many as 64 civilians during operations against insurgents in neighboring Kunar province.

But NATO spokesman Brigadier General Josef Blotz said Monday that coalition forces have no evidence of civilian casualties in any of the recent operations in Kunar province. He added that international forces joined the Afghans to investigate the allegations.

In other violence, NATO announced the death of one of its service members in a bomb attack in southern Afghanistan Monday.

Also Monday, a joint Afghan-NATO patrol detained three insurgents in southwestern Nimroz province. The patrol confiscated their weapons and destroyed 700 kilograms of opium.

In southern Kandahar and central Bamyan provinces, Afghan and NATO forces discovered several weapons caches, which included 300 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, pistols, grenades, mines and large quantities of ammunition.

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