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US seizes Afghan shooting footage
US forces in Afghanistan tried to confiscate video and destroy photographic evidence taken after a shooting incident that left at least 10 civilians dead, witnesses have told Al Jazeera.
Footage obtained by Al Jazeera shows the scene in Nangarhar province immediately after US forces opened fire following a car bomb attack on their convoy.
The footage included a scenes of local people in shock, treating the wounded and pulling bodies from the debris left by the shooting.
After the Nargarhar incident, a separate Nato air raid in northern Afghanistan left nine civilians dead, according to a local official.
Responding to Al Jazeera's discovery of the footage, a spokesman for the US contingent within the international force insisted US troops acted in self-defence.
"We regret the loss of life of the Afghan civilians, but coalition forces were attacked by both a suicide bomb vehicle and small arms fire.
"Our forces returned fire in self-defence against numerous enemy positions," said Lieutenant Colonel David Accetta, coalition forces spokesman.
"We don't train or order our troops to fire on unarmed civilians, and it's uncertain at this time what caused the casualties.
"But it's important to note that the extremists conducted this attack in an area that they knew would cause civilian casualties," he said.
Witnesses say the suicide bomber had acted alone, that there were no accomplices and that US troops had panicked, firing at anything that moved immediately after the attack.
One told Al Jazeera: "There were no gunmen, this is a complete lie. This is a peaceful area, we don't have guns."
The dead included an 80-year-old man, whose grand-son said: "A bomb exploded, my grandfather sat in a car and at that time American soldiers were shooting into my grandfather's car."
Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, condemned the killings earlier on Monday and ordered an investigation into Sunday's attack.
His office and the Afghan interior ministry on Monday put the death toll at 10 civilians while the coalition late on Sunday said eight Afghans were killed and 35 wounded.
In a separate incident, nine civilians, including two children, were killed after a Nato air attack hit a house in northern Afghanistan, according to a local official.
Sayed Daud Hashimi, a deputy provincial governor in the Kapisa province, said five women were among the dead overnight on Monday after artillery fire hit their home in the area north of Kabul.
Hashimi said a Nato reconstruction base in the province was attacked and that they "responded with artillery and an air strike, killing nine Afghan civilians".
The interior ministry confirmed an incident in the Nijrab district involved "some casualties" but said it was searching for more details.
The Nato base in Kapisa is staffed by US forces. William Mitchell, a spokesman for the US military, said officials were looking into the incident.