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US drone kills four civilians in Afghanistan

Posted on Aug 05 2014 | IANS

Kabul, Aug 5 : Four civilians, including two minors, were killed in an attack by a US drone in the western Afghan province of Herat, an official said Tuesday.

"A man, a woman, a teenager and a baby died in a drone attack Monday evening in Zawal city, located in the Shindand district of heart," provincial police spokesperson Abdul Raouf Ahmadi told Efe news agency.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) security mission told Efe they are looking into the facts.

"We can confirm that there was a bombing in western Herat yesterday in which many insurgents died," an ISAF spokesperson said, adding that they were still investigating if there were any civilian victims.

The death of civilians is one of the points of friction between Afghan authorities and NATO, which in 2011 started to gradually withdraw from the south Asian nation and transfer security responsibility to Afghan forces.

In February 2013, after an air attack which injured many children and women, President Hamid Karzai barred the country's army from requesting foreign air assistance in military operations in residential areas.

In September last year, eight civilians, including three women and three children, died in a NATO attack in the Asian country.

In the first six months of 2014, violence has claimed the lives of 1,564 civilians in Afghanistan, 17 percent more than in the first half of 2013, while 3,298 people were wounded, an increase of 28 percent.

ISAF will complete its withdrawal in December this year, but the US has announced that it will maintain around 9,800 soldiers in Afghanistan till the end of 2016.

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