Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the killing of 11 children in a NATO air strike in eastern Afghanistan.
The children were reported killed during a joint Afghan-NATO operation against Taliban fighters in the Shigal district of restive Konar Province bordering Pakistan late on April 6.
Associated Press photos showed villagers gathered for the funerals of the children, whose bodies were wrapped in blankets.
In a statement issued by his office on April 7, Karzai said he condemned operations in populated areas that result in civilian casualties and he condemned the Taliban for using civilians as shields.
The death of Afghan civilians caught in the crossfire has strained relations between Karzai's government and the coalition. Ealier this year, Karzai banned his troops from calling in coalition air strikes.
There were conflicting figures on the number killed, but Karzai's office later said 11 people were killed -- all of them children -- and six women were wounded.
Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said six Taliban militants had also been killed in the joint operation, including two senior commanders.
The U.S.-led coalition said it was aware of reports of civilian casualties and was looking into them.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP and dpa