At least 17 civilians killed in NATO airstrike on Afghan village

The NATO-led International Security Force (ISAF) in an airstrike against Taliban militants in Nad Ali district of southern Afghanistan's Helmand province killed at least 17 civilians on Thursday, officials said on Friday.

Assadullah Shirzad, the provincial police chief told Xinhua that ISAF and Afghan National Army (ANA) launched a massive oppression against Taliban militants in Nad Ali district Thursday morning, killing a number of militants with the support of airstrike, reported Xinhua.

"However, some death of civilians were also reported later the day," Shirzad said.

He said that civilians from the bombarded village carried dead bodies in two vehicles to the provincial government compound in the capital city of Lashkar Gha.

Daud Ahmadi, the provincial spokesman confirmed that 17 civilians were killed in the explosion but he was reluctant to answer whether the ill-fated civilians were killed by airstrike orother menace.

Hazrat Shah, one of the villagers, told Xinhua reporters that a total of 25 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in the airstrike.

Meanwhile, ISAF in a statement received here on Friday confirmed there was an airstrike by its outfit Thursday morning inNad Ali district but failed to give any further information.

"ISAF is aware of an incident involving an airstrike that took place earlier Thursday in Nad Ali district of Helmand province," the statement said, "This incident is being investigated and at this time we are unable to confirm any civilian casualties."

Both the NATO-led peacekeeping International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the U.S.-led Coalition forces have committed such "mistakes" during operations since their deploymen there nearly seven years ago and claimed many civilian lives.

Killing of more than 90 civilians by U.S. troops air raid in western Afghan province Herat in a single day on Aug. 22 has drawn nationwide condemnations and demand for trial of those responsible for the bloody incident.

The unrest southern Afghan province of Helmand has seen the surge and attacks of Taliban militants over the past week as over 118 militants were killed during the clashes.

Spiraling conflicts and Taliban-linked insurgency have left more than 4,500 people with more than 1,500 civilians dead so far this year in Afghanistan while Taliban insurgents recently vowed to intensify assaults against interests of Afghan government and international troops before the coming winter.

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