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NATO Says Civilians May Have Died In Afghan Raid

KABUL (Reuters) -- Civilians may have been among those killed in a NATO-led attack in eastern Afghanistan on December 8, the U.S. general in charge of the NATO force's day-to-day combat operations has said.

"The bottom line was the Afghans partnered with us got some of the enemy of Afghanistan [insurgents], and there could possibly have been some civilians killed because it was a confusing situation," Lieutenant General David Rodriguez told reporters.

NATO said on December 8 that no civilians had died in its raid in Laghman Province, just northeast of Kabul, saying its forces had killed seven militants and arrested four.

President Hamid Karzai's office has said six civilians, including one woman, were killed in the attack in Armul village, where angry protesters marched to demonstrate against the attack on December 8. The acting head of Laghman's provincial council said 13 civilians were killed in the raid.

Civilian casualties caused by Western forces have stoked anger toward foreign troops, which NATO commander U.S. General Stanley McChrystal says undermines his mission.

Since taking command in June, McChrystal has issued new orders designed to reduce civilian deaths by placing limits on the use of firepower.

Afghans are concerned that the influx of 30,000 more U.S. troops ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama last week will result in more attacks and higher civilian casualties.