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Two Civilians, Eight Taliban Killed In Afghan Raid


HERAT, Afghanistan -- A U.S.-led coalition air strike has killed a woman and child and eight Taliban fighters in western Afghanistan, a top Afghan Army official said.

The raid in Farah Province was aimed at the house of a local Taliban commander who was among those killed, Ghulam Faruq Niami, an Afghan National Army commander for the western zone, said.

He did not have any details on the woman and child killed in the operation.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S.-led coalition on the air strike. It said separately several militants had been killed in an operation in northern Kapisa Province.

Western military officials say Taliban fighters deliberately use civilians as cover, drawing coalition firepower against noncombatants in an attempt to reap propaganda gains.

Farah Province, where the latest raid took place, adjoins Herat where the government says more than 90 civilians were killed in a U.S.-led coalition air strike last month.

The U.S. military disputes the Herat casualty figure and a three-way investigation involving the United Nations has been proposed.

Farah's deputy governor, Mohammad Yunus Rasuli, confirmed the latest bombing and said there were casualties, although he did not have a precise figure.

More than 500 civilians have been killed during operations by foreign and Afghan forces against the militants so far this year, according to the Afghan government and some aid groups.
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