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KUNDUZ, Afghanistan (Reuters) - NATO forces in Afghanistan were investigating on Friday whether civilians were among scores of people burned to death when they carried out an air strike against two hijacked fuel tankers.
NATO said it believed the dead were all Taliban fighters, but angry relatives in northern Kunduz province said villagers were collecting fuel from the hijacked trucks and caught in the blast.
The Kunduz area is patrolled mainly by NATO's German contingent, barred by Berlin from operating in combat zones.
Under new orders issued in July by the ISAF commander, U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, aircraft are not supposed to open fire unless they can confirm there is no chance civilians might be hurt or friendly forces are in immediate danger.
Mohammad Sarwar, a tribal elder in the province, said Taliban fighters had hijacked the tankers and were offering fuel to a crowd of villagers when the tankers were bombed.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said fighters had captured the two fuel tankers. One had become stuck in mud by a village, and the fighters went to try to tow it when residents gathered to take the fuel and the crowd was struck.
At least 90 people have been killed after a Nato air strike blew up two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, officials say.