NATO air strike kills 16 civilians in south Afghanistan

A NATO air strike has killed 16 and wounded another six civilians in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, an employee of the provincial governor’s press service who preferred to stay anonymous told RIA Novosti on Sunday.

“By now it is clear that the air strike delivered with Hellfire rockets on houses killed seven girls, five boys and four women who were within the firing range. Not a single Taliban militant has been found on the site of the air strike,” the employee said.

The incident occurred early on Saturday morning when a NATO convoy was ambushed by Taliban militants. The NATO troops, which engaged with the militants, summoned warplanes for support and the air strike destroyed almost completely the village, from which the militants conducted fire, the employee said.

It is hard to give the exact figure of victims among the civilians as the police and the local construction company are continuing their work to clear the debris and retrieve dead bodies from the rubble. The exact number of victims is expected to be given by Monday, he said.

Violence remains high in Afghanistan, with the Taliban group, which was toppled in a 2001 U.S.-led campaign, staging regular attacks on provincial government officials, police and civilians and planting roadside bombs to target Afghan, U.S. and NATO troops.

KABUL, May 29 (RIA Novosti) 


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