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Afghanistan: US-backed airstrike at Taliban leader's home causes civilian casualties

A dozen wounded civilians were taken to a hospital nearby. (Representative image) Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Jalalabad, Nangarhar, Afghanistan Oct 28, 2016, 11.26 AM (IST)

An airstrike by the United States and Afghan forces struck the home of a Taliban commander in Afghanistan's Nangarhar provinces, causing several civilian casualties, government and the Taliban said.

A police official said that the strike was carried out by an unmanned aircraft and killed four people inside the house, Reuters reported.

The strike targeted the home of Mawlawi Mohammad Alam, a Taliban commander in the Sherzad district, Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor said. He said that though there were casualties, he could not confirm numbers, Reuters reported.

The Taliban said in a statement two civilians were killed and more than 30 injured in the airstrike carried out on Mohammad Alam's home by American and Afghan forces. A ground attack preceded the airstrike.

A dozen wounded civilians, among them seven children and five women, were taken to the local hospital. Four of them are in a critical condition, Najibullah Kamawal, the director of provincial health services told Reuters.

On Friday, US forces carried out a strike in Sherzad in defence of "friendly forces", a spokesman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in Kabul. He gave no details of the strike but said that civilian casualties would be investigated.

"We take all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and will work with our Afghan partners to review all related material," Brigadier General Charles Cleveland said in an emailed statement.

The United States has carried out many raids against the Islamic State and al Qaeda militants in eastern Afghanistan. New combat rules, issued this year, have given U.S. commanders greater scope of attacking Taliban militants, pushing up the number of airstrikes sharply, Reuters reports.

Last Sunday, two al Qaeda leaders were killed in an airstrike in the neighbouring province of Kunar, Reuters reported.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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