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NATO strike said to have hit family

October 02, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A NATO airstrike on a compound in southwestern Afghanistan killed a family of six, a local tribal leader said.

The U.S. military said the airstrike occurred after troops came under fire from the compound late Wednesday. A British spokesman, Lt. Col. Nick Richardson, said there were unconfirmed reports that six children, two women and four militants were killed.

Ghulam Mohammad Khan, a tribal leader, said the dead included a farmer, his wife and four children, as well as three "guests."

Civilian deaths have been a source of friction between President Hamid Karzai and U.S. military commanders and have infuriated many Afghans, who say foreign soldiers use heavy-handed tactics.

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces, Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, has made protecting the Afghan people a priority since taking command this summer and has ordered troops to limit airstrikes.

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