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Air Strike Kills Four Civilians In Southern Afghanistan

FILE : Men transport the bodies of four civilians killed in an airstrike in Kandahar in 2009.

Afghan officials said at least four civilians were mistakenly killed when the Afghan Air Force carried out an air strike targeting Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan.

Abdul Raziq, the police chief of Kandahar Province, said the Taliban had mounted an attack in the Maroof district when security forces responded with an airstrike late on October 4.

Raziq said the militants "tried to flee and got mixed up with villagers at a wedding procession," leaving a child, three women, and 10 insurgents dead.

Aziz Ahmad Azizi, the provincial governor's spokesman, said eight others, including a child and seven women, were wounded in the air strike.

Taliban fighters often hide in civilian homes after staging attacks on government targets and use civilians as human shields to escape.

Afghan officials said an investigation had been launched into the incident.

According to the United Nations, at least 1,692 civilians have been killed in fighting in the first half of the year.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters