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30 civilians killed in Afghanistan

Source:BBC News
Author:Naim al-Gharib
Date:08/01-2009

Coalition troops have killed about 50 insurgents in operations across Afghanistan in recent days, US-led forces and Afghan officials say.

There are also reports of dozens of civilian casualties.

The US military said 38 Taleban fighters had been killed in Laghman and Farah provinces. Officials in Laghman said more than 20 civilians also died.

Afghan officials said 12 insurgents and 11 civilians died in Uruzgan province, while 19 civilians died in Helmand.

The issue of civilians being killed by coalition forces is highly controversial in Afghanistan and has done much damage to US-led efforts to win over local people in their battle against the Taleban.

The deputy police chief of Uruzgan, Gulab Wardak told the BBC that the rockets were fired as Nato aircraft and troops on the ground were conducting operations on the outskirts of the town of Tarin Kowt.

He said that the attack happened as civilians were fleeing the town to escape Nato bombing and that eight women were killed. At least nine people were injured, including a child.

"We have launched an investigation to find out who fired the rocket - people are very angry about this incident,'' he said.

Nato forces said in a statement they were aware of an incident in the area on Monday, but confirmed only nine injured civilians.