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Civilian Deaths Reported After Air Strikes in Helmand --> A U.S. helicopter flies over Helmand Province (file photo) (NATO) August 3, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- There are unconfirmed reports of heavy civilian casualties after air strikes by U.S.-led forces in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reported.

A local police chief, Muhammad Hussein Andiwal, said at least 20 wounded people were admitted to a hospital in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

However, eyewitnesses there told RFE/RL that dozens of people were killed when aircraft bombarded a shrine in Baghran district on August 2.

A coalition statement said the air strikes targeted a meeting of Taliban commanders "after ensuring there were no innocent Afghans" in the area.

(with material from agency reports)

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

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