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Air Strike In Afghanistan Kills 16 From Same Family

Afghan security officials patrol in Helmand earlier this month.
Afghan security officials patrol in Helmand earlier this month.

Sixteen civilians from the same extended family have been killed in an air strike on a home in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official says.

The air strike was carried out in the Sangin district during heavy fighting between Afghan forces and Taliban militants, Attaullah Afghan, head of the Helmand provincial council, said on January 24.

He said all of the victims belonged to the same family and eight children and three women were among the dead.

Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said an investigation had been launched.

It was not immediately clear whether the military strike was launched by Afghan forces or NATO, which often provides air support to Afghan ground troops.

"A large Afghan-led, multiday operation in Sangin, Helmand has been supported by U.S. advisers and coalition air strikes," NATO said in a statement. "Due to the ongoing operation and the number of units involved, we are still looking into the claim of noncombatant casualties."

Based on reporting by AP and dpa
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