KABUL — International forces in Afghanistan said they were investigating fresh claims of civilian casualties Tuesday after local residents said nine children had been killed by an airstrike in the country's restive northeast.
Earlier this week, an official delegation appointed by Afghanistan's government had accused NATO-led forces of killing 65 civilians in recent operations in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it had launched a probe into claims that civilians were hurt when its forces responded with airstrikes and arms fire to an attack on a base in Darah-Ye Pech district.
"Following the engagement, ISAF was made aware of civilian casualty claims through the media," it said in a statement. "As a result, ISAF is investigating the operation and the civilian casualty claims."
The accidental deaths of civilians in international military operations is a highly sensitive subject in Afghanistan -- particularly in Kunar -- which experts and officials say can fuel support for the Taliban-led insurgency.
Last week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai appointed an official delegation to investigate what he said was a recent wave of civilian deaths in international operations in the province.
The delegation later reported that 21 boys, 19 girls, 10 women and 15 men had died in several days of operations.
However, this toll is disputed by ISAF, which says that its assessments found that up to seven civilians may have been injured.
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