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Civilian casualties cause additional worries in Afghan offensive

MARJAH, Afghanistan (AP) - The intensifying battle for the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in southern Afghanistan is also increasing concerns about civilian casualties, with the toll already at least 15.

The most recent are three Afghans killed in three separate incidents. That's on the heels of two errant U.S. missiles which struck a house on the outskirts of Marjah on Sunday, killing 12 people, half of them children.

Though NATO has only confirmed 15 civilian deaths, an Afghan human rights group said today that they have counted 19 killed so far. There are worries that civilians will bear an even bigger burden as the fight goes on.

Insurgents have been counterattacking U.S. Marines and Afghan forces with fighters apparently even slipping behind the lines into previously cleared areas, slowing the offensive.


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