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NATO airstrike kills 15 civilians, Afghan official says

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned an alleged drone strike for the deaths of at least nine civilians in Kunar province Saturday.

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com
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NATO airstrike kills 15 civilians, Afghan official says
An Israeli made unmanned aerial vehicle, the Heron TP, flies during it's induction ceremony into the Israeli Air Force at the Tel Nof Air Force Base, February 21, 2010. The large drone is built by the Israel Aerospace Industries, IAI, and is capable of flying to Iran. It has a wingspan of 86 feet, the size of a passenger jet and can fly 20 consecutive hours. The drone is primarily used for surveillance and carrying payloads. UPI/Debbie Hill | License Photo

Afghan President Hamid Karzai blamed a NATO drone strike for the deaths of 16 civilians, including women and children, Saturday in Kunar province.

"Hamid Karzai considers attacking women and children against all accepted international norms and strongly condemns it," the president's office said in a statement released Sunday.

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NATO announced the deaths of 10 fighters in the strike, but did not report civilian casualties.

Afghan officials said at least nine civilians were killed in the airstrike and while a provincial police chief said 16 civilians died, including four women and four children.

Kunar province police chief Abdul Habib Sayed Khaili said a drone struck hit a pickup truck carrying women and children after three Arab and three Afghan fighters came on board in Qoro village.

According to the United Nations, about 1,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and another 2,000 wounded in the first half of 2013, up 24 percent from the same time last year.

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