Taliban militants used Afghan civilians as human shields during a battle with US forces in eastern Afghanistan in which 20 Taliban and one civilian were killed and 11 civilians wounded, officials said Sunday.
Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said the joint Afghan-NATO operation began Friday in the Korengal Valley in Kunar province - next to the border with Pakistan - with artillery fire and airstrikes. Twenty "enemy" fighters had been killed, the ministry said.
Kunar Gov. Didar Shalizai said one civilian had also been killed, while Maj. Charles Anthony, spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, said 11 civilians had been wounded. Three had been transported to the US base at Bagram for medical care, he said.