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Air strikes in Afghan kill 10 militants

world Updated: Jul 17, 2008 19:01 IST

AP
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NATO-led and Afghan troops called in airstrikes against militants in western Afghanistan on Thursday, killing at least 10 insurgents and wounding four civilians, Afghan officials said.

General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, a defence ministry spokesman, said "tens of enemy" were killed during the joint operation in Shindand district of Herat province.

Humayun Azizi, the head of Herat's provincial council, said 10 to 12 militants were killed in the airstrikes and there were reports of civilian casualties.

NATO had no immediate comment on the operation.

Azizi said the raid targeted a militant cell in the Zerko area of Shindand.

Abdul Shukur, the Shindand police chief, said three houses were destroyed during the raid. He said two local militant commanders and two of their sons were among the dead.

Four wounded civilians, two childen, a man and a woman, were brought to Herat hospital for treatment Aziz said.

He said the militants were suspected of kidnappings and were holding at least 15 people hostage. It was not clear if any of those allegedly held were killed during the raid.

Yesterday, the US-led coalition said eight civilian died in airstikes called in after one of its patrols came under attack in neighbouring Farah province.

The issue of civlian casualties has caused friction between the Afghan government and US and NATO troops and has undermined the standing of Western-backed Pesident Hamid Karzai.

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