Pentagon denies civilians killed in Afghanistan airstrike

US Airstrikes in Afghanistan Are Said to Kill 16 Civilians

A spokesman for the US military in Kabul said officials were aware of the reports but would not comment immediately.

He said "The strike was conducted in the middle of open terrain".

At least 13 civilians were killed and three injured when two mortars struck a residential area in Faryab province, an official said on Saturday.

A statement from U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, though, said the airstrike killed only militants.

This is the second strike in the last few weeks in the district which killed civilians. "On Thursday afternoon, the American forces bombarded a civilian private vehicle... when they were travelling inside the district", he told AFP.

Meantime, Governor of Dawlatabad district Abdul Salam Nazhat has confirmed the gruesome event but said nine civilians including women and children had lost their lives and five more sustained injuries.

Several districts of Nangarhar are infested with IS militants, US and Afghan officials said.

Claims of civilian deaths from airstrikes have occurred this year in Kunduz in the north and in Helmand province in the south, often as a result of fighting in areas where it can be hard to distinguish insurgents from civilians.

Meanwhile, the U.N Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it had completed its probe into the killings of dozens of civilians in the northern province of Sar-e-Pul and promised to issue its findings soon. All the victims, which included women and children, were civilians and they were from one family.

UNAMA, however, urged all parties to refrain from exploiting harrowing events for political purposes and before basic facts were established.

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