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Afghanistan Says 39 Civilians Killed In Disputed NATO Attack

A man, Abdul Ghaffar, comforts his child, wounded in the attack, at a hospital in southern Kandahar city on July 24.
Afghanistan's government says an investigation shows that 39 civilians -- all women or children -- were killed by a NATO rocket attack last month, fewer than first reported but dozens more than NATO forces have conceded.

NATO says it has been checking reports of civilian deaths since Kabul first claimed nearly two weeks ago that more than 50 people were killed by the rocket strike in Helmand Province.

A NATO spokesman said today he could not comment on the report of 39 civilian deaths by President Hamid Karzai's office.

NATO previously said an initial assessment showed six people were killed in the area at the time of the rocket strike and that a "majority" of the victims were insurgents.

Karzai's office said those killed by the rocket were civilians who had crammed into a house to flee a clash between the Taliban and joint Afghan and NATO forces.

-- Reuters