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US air strike on Taliban kills Afghan civilians
At least 16 civilians were killed in air strikes by American-led forces on a village near Kandahar in Afghanistan yesterday. A US military spokesmen said a Taliban compound had been targeted but survivors from the village said civilian houses were bombed.
It was impossible to confirm what happened after Afghan police and foreign troops cordoned off the village of Azizi, 30 miles south-west of Kandahar. It is the latest in a series of incidents in Afghanistan in which civilians have died in US air strikes on villages. It appears clear that Taliban insurgents were present in the village. US forces claimed as many as 80 Taliban fighters may have been killed in the air strikes, but said they had only verified 20 Taliban deaths. The Taliban confirmed the fighting but denied they had suffered any casualties.
Wounded villagers in a Kandahar hospital said the Taliban had been sheltering in the village's madrassa or religious school.
"Helicopters bombed the madrassa and some of the Taliban ran from there and into people's homes. Then those homes were bombed," said Haji Ikhlaf.