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NATO Airstrike Kills Eight Women Civilians in Afghanistan

At least eight Afghan women were killed today by a NATO airstrike as they gathered firewood in the mountains of Afghanistan’s eastern Laghman province, NATO and government officials said.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the killing of eight civilians and wounding of seven others and ordered an investigation team to probe the incident, his press office said in an e-mailed statement.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Forces, or ISAF, confirmed the airstrike, which occurred in the middle of last night, and said both insurgents and civilians were involved.

“A large number of insurgents were killed in the engagement,” Capt. Dan Einert, an ISAF spokesman, said in a telephone interview from Kabul. “Unfortunately we are aware of possible civilian casualties.”

ISAF’s initial reports indicates “five to eight civilians,” have been killed, Einert said.

The airstrike was in the Alingar district of the province just before dawn early today, according to a statement from the provincial governor’s office.

Some of the dead were brought today to the provincial governor’s office by family members. “They asked for justice from the governor while shouting ‘death to America’,” Sarhadi Zewak, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said in a phone interview.

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