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NATO: Airstrike killed Afghan women, children

  • Story Highlights
  • NATO says Afghan women, children among civilians killed in coalition airstrike
  • Target of airstrike was militants at compound in Helmand province, NATO says
  • Villagers say 11 civilians killed; NATO-led forces to meet village elders
  • U.N. says civilian deaths in Afghanistan have jumped 20 percent this year
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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Civilians, including women and children, were killed in an airstrike by coalition troops in southern Afghanistan, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said Thursday.

The airstrike occurred Wednesday when NATO-led forces were targeting militants at a compound in Helmand province, according to an ISAF statement.

Local villagers said 11 civilians were killed and no Taliban militants were killed.

"ISAF received reports of a number of persons killed in the compound, including women and children," the statement said.

"Also, a number of civilians with injuries reported to ISAF troops and were given immediate medical attention or were transported to an ISAF hospital for treatment."

The statement did not say how many civilians were killed or injured, but said NATO-led forces had scheduled a meeting with village elders about the incident.

Civilian deaths have risen in recent months as the war intensifies and the country deals with the recent disputed presidential election.

About 1,500 civilians died in Afghanistan from the beginning of the year to August, according to a U.N. report released this week.

The United Nations said civilian deaths jumped more than 20 percent this year compared with last year.

Most of the deaths were blamed on insurgent roadside bombs and suicide attacks. But a significant number of civilians were killed by airstrikes conducted by U.S. and NATO forces, the report said.

Journalist Tawab Qurayshi contributed to this report.

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