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Kabul: US-led raid killed 39 civilians

The Afghan government has released the findings of an investigation into a deadly rocket attack by US-led forces in Helmand province last month.

President Hamid Karzai’s office said late on Wednesday the inquiry shows 39 civilians — all women and children — were killed in the attack.

“Subsequently, one rocket hit the house in which 39 women and children were killed and four wounded,” the presidential office said in a statement.

The bombardment took place in the city of Sangin in the southern province of Helmand on July 23, 2010.

Civilians crammed into a house to flee the exchange of fire between NATO troops and alleged militants when they were attacked.

The death toll is fewer than first reported but is still dozens more than foreign forces admit.

Lt. Raymond Jeffery, a spokesman for NATO, has said he has no information about the result of any probe.

NATO previously said an initial assessment showed six people died in the incident. It added that most of those killed were militants.

In a separate development, the American forces launched two airstrikes in eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday morning, leaving dozens of people dead .

The US military says those killed in the attacks were militants.

US-led forces in Afghanistan regularly launch attacks on alleged militant hideouts, but the strikes usually result in civilian casualties.

Civilians have been the main victims of violence in Afghanistan, particularly in the country’s troubled southern and eastern provinces, where they fall victim to both militant and foreign fire.

The issue of civilian casualties has caused friction between Washington and the Karzai government in Kabul.

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