World

NATO air strike blamed for civilian deaths in Kandahar

Residents of a small village north of Kandahar in Afghanistan say a NATO air strike Wednesday night killed at least four civilians.

Residents of a small village north of Kandahar in Afghanistan say a NATO air strike Wednesday night killed at least four civilians.

The people were killed in Shah Wali Kot, a village about 30 kilometres north of Kandahar and an area where Taliban insurgents have been operating for months.

"There were some casualties. There was a total number of 17. Four were dead," Kandahar Gov. Tooryalai Wesa said Friday.

"Thirteen were wounded people. That includes, unfortunately, very young kids like one-year-old, three-year-old and six years old."

Wesa said Friday he's dispatched a delegation to Shah Wali Kot to investigate the reports.

Canadian military officials said Canadian troops were not involved in the operation. NATO officials would not say whether a bombardment took place.

"They are saying any lives that may have been lost could have been caused by small gun forces and they don't know whether that would be their force or the Taliban," the CBC's James Murray reported from Kandahar.

Afghan leaders have repeatedly criticized the mission's bombing campaign and called on NATO and U.S. forces to reduce the civilian death toll from their operations, since it erodes support for the international presence in the war-torn country.

Earlier this month, U.S. army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, issued a directive to troops to cut down on civilian casualties.

With files from The Associated Press

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