Eight civilians, Taliban leader killed in Afghanistan (Lead)

July 17th, 2008 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban
Kabul, July 17 (DPA) At least eight civilians were killed and two wounded in an airstrike by US-led coalition forces in western Afghanistan while a Taliban leader was killed in the south, the coalition forces said Thursday. A coalition convoy on a routine patrol came under machine-gun fire Tuesday from houses in the Bakwa district in the western province of Farah, a coalition statement said.

“The coalition convoy returned fire and called for close air support on the enemy positions,” it said. “A house was hit.”

A local official from Bakwa said all those killed were women and children.

The report followed the deaths of at least 63 people in two airstrikes by international forces early this month in eastern Afghanistan. Around 700 Afghan civilians have been killed so far this year, according to a recent UN survey.

Meanwhile, a Taliban leader accused of supplying weapons and explosives used to attack civilians and international forces was killed in the southern province of Helmand in a joint operation by Afghan troops and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, the ISAF said.

Mullah Bismullah Akhund died Saturday in the Now Zad district, it said.

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