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Afghan officials: NATO airstrike kills Taliban insurgents, civilians

From Mati Matiullah and Samson Desta, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An Afghan official says three civilians were killed
  • Taliban commanders also died, according to ISAF and Afghan officials
  • The attack targeted a Taliban meeting in Helmand province
RELATED TOPICS
  • Afghanistan
  • NATO
  • The Taliban

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A NATO airstrike targeting a Taliban meeting in Helmand province killed at least 17 people, including some Taliban commanders and three civilians, Afghan officials said Sunday.

The attack Saturday by the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) occurred in Nad Ali district of southwest Helmand province, according to two Afghan officials.

Esmatiullah Sadat, the district police chief for Nad Ali, said two senior Taliban commanders and five ordinary commanders died in the attack.

Mohammad Gulab Mangal, the governor of Helmand province, said the attack killed an unspecified number of Taliban commanders. The governor also said three civilians were killed in the airstrike.

An ISAF statement Sunday confirmed the attack and said two targeted Taliban insurgents were killed. It also said ISAF was aware of the reported civilian casualties and was investigating.

"The incident occurred when multiple intelligence sources and tips from local citizens led to the location and a subsequent airstrike targeting a senior Taliban leader," the ISAF statement said.

It said the targeted senior Taliban leader "was reportedly the acting shadow district governor" of Nad Ali district and involved in attacks against Afghan security forces and ISAF.

However, the ISAF statement did not specify if the senior Taliban leader was among the two targeted insurgents it reported killed.