13 civilians killed in Afghan attack

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The incident took place Thursday evening in the Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province.

Several civilians have been killed in an U.S. airstrike in eastern Afghanistan, local officials said on Friday, the latest setback in efforts to bring peace to the war-torn country.

Airstrikes by United States warplanes have also significantly increased in recent months against the purported positions of the Taliban militant group and other terror outfits in the crisis-hit country.

"United States Forces-Afghanistan takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously; reviewing each case fully". Eleven people were killed and one wounded. Local authorities said 16 civilians, including women and children, had been killed in two separate airstrikes. "There was zero chance of civilian casualties".

But US Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement on Saturday that the airstrike "killed a number of militants", not civilians.

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"Two mortar mines fired by militants struck some houses in Tort Atai village in Dawlatabad district Friday night, killing 13 innocent civilians and injuring three others", the official told Xinhua.

"We are deeply concerned by the harrowing reports of civilians being killed and atrocities being committed", UNAMA chief Tadamichi Yamamoto said.

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar, confirmed that casualties had occurred in the area but said that officials would release details later. "For the time being, we do not have a precise figure about the casualties", he told AFP.

Last August، a United States drone attack killed 22 Afghan soldiers in Helmand، and in September that year airstrikes conducted by American warplanes claimed the lives of at least eight Afghan troops in the central province of Uruzgan. It came after a USA airstrike in Sangin killed at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children, in February.

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