Afghans say NATO air strikes kill 52

Afghanistan map
Kandahar, May 29: Afghan authorities said today (May 29) NATO has killed 52 people, mostly civilians, in air strikes against insurgents as violence picked up in recent weeks with the start of the fighting season.

In the southern province of Helmand, local authorities said at least 14 civilians, including women and children, were killed and six injured in an air raid on Saturday (May 28).

US Marines in Helmand's Nawzad district called in air support after their base came under attack from small arms fire, the provincial government said in a statement.

"During the air strike, two civilian houses were targeted which killed 14 civilians and six others were wounded," it said.

The statement said the dead included five girls, seven boys and two women.

"ISAF are aware of the reports that civilians were allegedly killed in an ISAF air strike," Major Tim James, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, told AFP.

"(The) Regional Command South West has sent a joint assessment team to the area to look into the allegation and they will issue their findings to the press." Aslam, a local elder of Nawzad district, said he "lost 12 relatives while 10 others including children were injured" in the air strike.

He said some shots were fired at ISAF helicopters which flew into the area, adding that the choppers returned after 10 to 20 minutes and fired rockets, killing the "innocent civilians".


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