SHIGAL, Afghanistan - Eleven children and a woman were killed by an air strike during a NATO operation targeting Taliban commanders in eastern Afghanistan, officials in the region said Sunday.
Civilian deaths have been a long-running source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his international backers. Karzai has forbidden Afghan troops from calling for air strikes and NATO advise crews not to fire at or bomb in populated areas.
Six insurgents - two of them senior Taliban leaders - were killed during the operation in a village in Shigal district in Kunar province, which is on the Pakistani border, on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The Interior Ministry did not mention any civilian casualties but Wasefullah Wasefi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said civilian homes had been hit during an air attack.
"Eleven children and a woman were killed when an air strike hit their houses," Wasefi said.