Air strikes kill up to 60 civilians in Afghanistan
A week after Afghan President Hamid Karzai askedWestern forcesto be more careful with air strikes on suspected Taliban militants, Afghan officials said up to 60civilians were killed in aircraft attacks late Friday.
Local officials also said 35 insurgents died in the air strikes inHelmand province.Helmand is a region of southern Afghanistan where the Talibanare active, just west of Kandahar province, where Canadian troops are based.
NATO did notprovide a casualty estimate, though a U.S. release said some civilians were killed after militants took shelter among them. No figures were provided.
"Remains of some people who apparently were civilians were found among insurgent fighters who were killed in firing positions in a trench line," said Maj. Chris Belcher, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition.
"We are deeply saddened by any loss of innocent lives," he added.
Confirmingcasualty figures in remote regions is difficult. Military and civilian figures often differ widely.
The fighting in Helmand beganafter aU.S.-Afghanpatrol was ambushed. Air strikes were launched at a nearby village of Hyderabad after the militants took cover there.
Hyderabad resident Mohammad Khantold the Associated Press that his brother and five of his brother's children were killed in the attacks. He also took three relatives to hospital.
With files from the Associated Press