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UN: US Airstrike Kills 15 Civilians in Afghanistan

FILE - A U.S. Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in Afghanistan, June 13, 2010.

At least 15 civilians were killed Wednesday by a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan, the United Nations said.

Thirteen others were injured in the attack. The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has called for an independent investigation.

"UNAMA calls on the government and international military forces to launch a prompt, independent, impartial, transparent, and effective investigation into this incident," a statement released late Thursday said.

According to the statement, all 15 of the civilians killed were men, including students, a teacher and members of families considered to be "pro-government."

The U.S. military confirmed that the airstrike hit a target in the Achin district of Nangarhar province and said it was aimed at Islamic State militants, and that it was still gathering information on reports of civilian casualties.

"We take every possible measure to avoid civilian casualties in these operations, and will continue to work with Afghan authorities to determine if there is cause for additional investigation," U.S. forces said in a statement.

The latest U.S. airstrike came as tribal elders and officials recently warned that IS fighters have returned and regained control of some of their former strongholds in the area after retreating to mountain hideouts in the face of weeks of major Afghan security operations.