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article image18 Afghan civilians killed at a wedding in Logar province?

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By Anne Sewell     Jun 6, 2012 in World
Among conflicting reports, government officials are saying that 18 Afghani civilians have been killed, while NATO is insisting they took out 8 military commanders in the strike
After a NATO airstrike apparently hit a wedding in the Baraki Barak district, the dead Afghani civilians are said to include seven children, five women and six men. An AP photographer saw villagers pile the corpses into vans and officials offer this as proof of the killing (see one of his photos here). Villagers are planning to drive the bodies to the capital of Logar province in protest against the attack.
However, NATO officials are saying that the airstrike targeted a Taliban leader. They say that there were only 2 light injuries to civilians.
NATO said in a statement, "During the operation, insurgents attacked the Afghan and coalition troops with small-arms fire and a grenade. The security force returned fire and requested a precision strike."
However local officials told Al-Jazeera that the attack in fact targeted a tribal elder, who was at the time surrounded by his family. Officials did say that seven armed Taliban fighters were also killed nearby.
Al-Jazeera correspondent, Bernard Smith, reported from Kabul: "NATO is sticking to the line at the moment that it was targeting a Taliban leader and it called in the air strike and only two women suffered light injuries."
According to Logar's council head, the tribal elder and several members of his family, including women and children, were killed.
Al-Jazeera's Qais Azimy said that the target of NATO's attack was a house in the Baraki Barak district where a tribal elder was meeting with Taliban fighters. The international forces apparently learned of this meeting and launched a night raid.
When trying to arrest the fighters, who opened fire when they were asked to surrender, NATO apparently the launched the air strike.
Hopefully the news will be clarified at some stage.
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