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U.S. Air Strikes Kill 17 In Afghanistan

A protest against Afghan police in Paktika Province, July 2015.

U.S. air strikes have killed at least 17 people in eastern Afghanistan.

U.S. military spokesman Commander Fernando Estrella said on April 7 that U.S. warplanes conducted two air strikes in Paktika Province, near the Pakistani border.

Paktika's provincial police chief, Zorawar Zahid, said those killed were militants.

But another local official said those killed were civilians, including a tribal elder.

"I am from the area where the incident happened, and I can say there were all civilians," said Nimatullah Baburi, a deputy provincial council chief.

Another council member, Fazal Rahman Katawazai, confirmed the strikes had left civilian casualties, but said he did not know how many.

U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan have increased in recent months, especially on the militant strongholds along the eastern border with Pakistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa