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Afghan Governor: Five Civilians Killed In NATO-Taliban Clash

A spokesman for the governor of Afghanistan's southern Helmand Province says five civilians were killed during a battle between NATO-led troops and suspected Taliban fighters.

The spokesman, Daoud Ahmadi, said three women and two children were killed during the clash in Helmand's volatile Sangin district on December 21.

He said it was not clear whether they were killed by NATO-led forces or Taliban fighters.

Ahmadi also said seven suspected militants were killed during the battle.

The governor's office called on NATO to show greater caution in its military operations.

However, militants are known to try to use civilian death tolls to rally support for their insurgency.

NATO says the militants positioned themselves inside a civilian home to attack international forces with AK-47s and a machine gun. The alliance says it responded with gunfire and mortars.

Meanwhile, the Helmand governor's office called on NATO to exert greater caution in its military operations. NATO says it is investigating the report of civilian deaths in Sangin.

compiled from agency reports