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5 Afghan civilians killed in airstrike

KABUL (AP) - A tribal leader says at least six civilians - a farmer, his wife and four children - are among nine dead in an airstrike in western Afghanistan.

The U.S. military says ground forces were coming under fire from inside a compound during a prolonged gunbattle before they called in the airstrike Wednesday evening. Local tribal leader Ghulam Mohammad Khan says the airstrike killed the Afghan family and three guests.

He did not know the identities of the guests. U.S. officials say they are investigating the reports and meeting with local leaders.

Civilian deaths have been a source of friction between President Hamid Karzai and U.S. military commanders.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal has ordered troops to limit airstrikes to protect innocent Afghans.


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