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Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the killing of 76 civilians, mostly children, by a US airstrike in western Afghanistan, and vowed his government would take necessary measures to curtail such deaths in the future.
The interior ministry said Friday that the operation in Shindand killed 19 women, 7 men and 50 children, all under 15 years of age.
The US military claimed that 30 militants, including a rebel commander were killed in the operation, after the joint Afghan and coalition forces were ambushed by militants hiding inside the compounds.
If confirmed, the civilian toll in Friday's air raid would be the highest since the deployment of foreign forces in the country following the ouster of Taliban regime in late 2001.
The U.N. sent in a team of investigators, who relied solely on villagers' statements in alleging the American-led operation in the western province of Herat on Friday killed 60 children and 30 adults. The U.S. military stood by its account, that 25 militants and five civilians were killed in the operation.
"I don't have any information that would suggest that our military commanders in Afghanistan don't believe, still, that this was a legitimate strike on a Taliban target," Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said in Washington.