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NATO air strikes leave 50 dead in S Afghanistan
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21:39, March 18, 2008

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NATO's air raids against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province claimed the lives of 50 persons including 18 rebels, a parliamentarian from the restive province said Tuesday.

"It was Monday afternoon when villagers were busy in playing local game the stone throwing in Marmal village of Sangin district, suddenly the aircraft of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) appeared and dropped bombs killing 50 on the spot," Hajji Dad Mohammada told Xinhua.

He also added that 18 of those killed in the raid were Taliban fighters.

However, Mohammad Hussain Andiwal, the police chief of Helmand province, said "I have no information" when reached by Xinhua.

No officials at NATO-led ISAF headquarters were immediately available to make comment.

Similar incidents in the past had claimed the lives of civilians in parts of the country, mostly in the southern region.

President Hamid Karzai had more than once called on the international troops based in Afghanistan to coordinate military operations with local authorities in order to avoid harming non-combatants.

Source: Xinhua

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