USA denies Afghan claim of civilian deaths in Nangarhar

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US Airstrikes Kill 16 Civilians in Afghanistan: Officials

Civilian casualties caused by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) forces have been one of the most contentious issues in the close to 16-year campaign against insurgents, prompting strong public and government criticism.

The United States military has deployed Special Forces and airstrikes against Islamic State group militants in Afghanistan and said it has killed dozens of the group's leaders and hundreds of fighters this year.

Last AugustŲŒ a U.S. drone attack killed 22 Afghan soldiers in HelmandŲŒ and in September that year airstrikes conducted by American warplanes claimed the lives of at least eight Afghan troops in the central province of Uruzgan.

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Meantime, Governor of Dawlatabad district Abdul Salam Nazhat has confirmed the gruesome event but said nine civilians including women and children had lost their lives and five more sustained injuries. "The victims were beyond recognition, and they were placed inside the sacks and were buried late last night", he added.

Friends and family pray during a funeral procession for victims of a USA airstrike in the Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, Aug. 8, 2017.

Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense, said Thursday's strike was carried out by foreign forces in coordination with Afghan officials. "We do not have any news about civilian casualties". Back in February, American airstrikes also killed 22 civilians in the same province.

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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said they were unable to provide any information when ed by AFP. "For the time being, we do not have a precise figure about the casualties", he told AFP.

In June, at least three Afghan border police officers were killed in United States airstrikes in Helmand province. It came after a USA airstrike in Sangin killed at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children, in February.

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