Afghans check reports foreign forces killed civilians

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan authorities were checking on Sunday reports more than a dozen civilians were killed by a foreign forces air strike in an area to the northeast of the capital, an official said.

Civilian deaths caused by foreign troops while hunting Taliban insurgents are highly sensitive for the Western-backed Afghan government and its allies as the incidents feed popular resentment.

The latest reported incident occurred on Saturday after a group of foreign soldiers came under attack by suspected Taliban insurgents in Tagab district of Kapisa province, an official in Kabul said, quoting provincial authorities.

“We do not have a lot of details now and are checking the reports saying more than 12 civilians were killed and 18 more wounded,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Other officials could not be reached immediately for comment about the reports of deaths.

Some 400 non-combatants have been killed so far this year during operations of NATO and U.S.-led forces as well as Afghan troops, according to Afghan officials and aid agencies.

Tagab lies some 90 kms to the northeast of Kabul and is located to the east of Bagram air base, the hub of operation of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.

Troops from NATO and the U.S.-led military have clashed with suspected militants on several occasions in Kapisa in recent months and provincial officials in the past have complained of some civilian deaths.

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