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NATO admits Afghan airstrike killed civilians

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A statement issued by NATO-led forces in Afghanistan Tuesday said for the first time that civilians were killed and injured in a controversial American airstrike called in by German troops in Kunduz Province on Sept. 4. NATO-led forces had previously stopped short of admitting civilian deaths, saying only that they believed civilians had been harmed.

The airstrike has unleashed outrage in Afghanistan and Europe. The Taliban, meanwhile, have fed the controversy by issuing their own call for an investigation according to international law.

The revelation coincides with deepening allegations of fraud in Afghanistan’s Aug. 20 presidential elections, creating a diplomatic storm for the US and its allies.

The airstrike incident began last Friday, when “NATO planes bombed two fuel trucks that had been hijacked by Taliban fighters," as the Christian Science Monitor reported. “The Taliban-hijacked trucks, which the militants claimed carried fuel from Tajikistan to supply NATO in Kabul, reportedly got stuck in mud – attracting residents looking to carry home some of the fuel. As many 70 civilians are believe to have been killed, according to an Afghan human rights group.

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