Defense

US probing claims of civilian casualties after Afghanistan strike

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U.S. forces in Afghanistan are investigating allegations that an American airstrike on Wednesday killed at least 11 civilians.

Officials are “aware of an incident in the Pul-e ‘Alam District in Logar Province this morning with potential civilian casualties,” U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement, adding that “an official investigation has been launched.”

Witnesses and officials said civilians were killed during a joint U.S.-Afghan military operation against the Taliban, The New York Times reported.

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The forces came under Taliban fire and had called for air support, said Salim Salih, a spokesman for the provincial governor, according to The Times.

The spokesman said that a government delegation sent to the battle site found 11 civilians dead and 16 wounded. The aide said that two Taliban commanders were also killed.

U.S. Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Capt. Bill Salvin told the newspaper that a U.S. helicopter had made a “precautionary landing because of a maintenance issue” in Logar Province, but there were no casualties.

He would not say whether airstrikes occurred in the area where the helicopter landed.

“United States Forces-Afghanistan takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and is working with our Afghan partners to determine the facts surrounding this incident,” read the statement from U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

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