Nine Afghans died when US-led coalition warplanes bombed their home during a battle with militants, officials said yesterday, the second deadly incident involving civilians in as many days.
Five women and three children were among the dead when foreign forces responded to the overnight attack on their base in Kapisa Province, just north of Kabul, Deputy Provincial Governor Sayed Daud Hashimi said.
"I can confirm an airstrike was conducted in Kapisa Province but we don't have any information on casualties," said Dean Welch, a spokesman for the 11,000-strong US-led coalition.
The 35,000-member NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, which Afghan officials earlier said had carried out the attack, said it was aware of the incident but not involved.
An intelligence official who confirmed the death toll of nine said there were reports a militant had fired a rocket at the base of the Western military provincial reconstruction team from his home nearby.
"It seems that the casualties were relatives of that Taliban," the Kabul-based official said.
He could not say whether the suspected militant also died.
Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said the government had sent a delegation to investigate the incident in Kapisa's Nijrab district.
The incident came as US-backed Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the killing of up to 10 civilians on Sunday when US forces opened fire following a suicide ambush, sparking angry protests.
Karzai ordered a separate probe into Sunday's attack in eastern Nangarhar Province, during which insurgents using small arms and a suicide car bomb attacked a five-vehicle US convoy.
Karzai "strongly condemned the incident which took place due to a suicide attack on a coalition convoy and which prompted the coalition force firing on civilians that killed 10 people," his office said in a statement.
The president said the attack on the convoy was the "work of the enemies of Afghanistan" -- a phrase commonly used here to describe Taliban militants.
Coalition spokespersons said eight Afghans were killed and 35 wounded.
Hours after the attack several hundred demonstrators gathered at the site, about 50km from Jalalabad City, shouting "Death to America" and "Death to Karzai."
The Interior Ministry said on Sunday that the civilians were killed by coalition gunfire.