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Kabul Says NATO Rocket Killed 52 Afghan Civilians

Presidential spokesman Wahid Omar (file photo)
Afghanistan's government has said that 52 civilians, many women and children, were killed in a rocket attack by the NATO-led foreign force in Afghanistan's southern Helmand Province last week.

Government spokesman Siyamak Herawi said the incident happened in Helmand's Sangin district on July 23 when civilians crammed into a house to flee fighting between NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops and Taliban insurgents.

A statement from President Hamid Karzai's office said an investigation had found that 52 civilians were killed in the strike and called on NATO troops do everything possible to "avoid harming civilians during military operations."

An ISAF spokesman, Major Michael Johnson, said the alliance had conducted an operation against insurgents in Sangin on July 23 and was investigating the reports of civilian deaths.

At least 30 civilians were killed in a NATO air strike called in by German forces in northern Konduz in September 2009.

compiled from agency reports