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A coalition helicopter patrolling Helmand Province (epa)
May 11, 2007 -- NATO's top commander in Afghanistan has confirmed that a battle between U.S. forces and Taliban in southern Afghanistan resulted in civilian casualties.
U.S. General Dan McNeill said a joint Afghan-U.S. investigation was under way into the May 8 battle in the Sangin district of Helmand Province.
Helmand Governor Assadullah Wafa said 21 civilians, including women and children, were killed by NATO planes that attacked a village where Taliban fighters were positioned in civilian homes.
The report comes as foreign forces operating in Afghanistan come under increasing pressure to prevent civilian deaths. NATO officials pledged to make it a priority in 2007 to avoid noncombatant deaths as they battle Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and insurgent forces.
A U.S. military vehicle damaged by insurgents near Kandahar (epa)
HOMEGROWN OR IMPORTED? As attacks against Afghan and international forces continue relentlessly, RFE/RL hosted a briefing to discuss the nature of the Afghan insurgency. The discussion featured Marvin Weinbaum, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and RFE/RL Afghanistan analyst Amin Tarzi.
Listen to the entire briefing (about 83 minutes):Real Audio Windows Media
RFE/RL's coverage of Afghanistan
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