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Afghan investigation finds airstrike killed 17

| Saturday, April 13, 2013, 8:09 p.m.
AFP/Getty Images
A soldier belonging to the Alpha Company of Combined Team Bastogne, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) watches his colleagues play basket ball at the forward base Honaker Miracle in Kunar province on April 13, 2013. The Security Forces Advisory and Assistance Team (SFAAT) of the Combined Team Bastogne, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) of the ISAF forces have been working with the 6/1/201 Kandak of Afghan National Army in the Watehpur District in establishing an independent and a self-reliant defense force in the area. AFP PHOTO/Manjunath KIRANManjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents and the U.S. military are to blame for an airstrike a week ago that killed 17 people, including a dozen children, during a fierce battle in eastern Afghanistan, says President Hamid Karzai.

Karzai made his comments on Saturday after an Afghan investigation into the April 6 attack. The probe raised the civilian death toll from 11 to 17, including 12 children, four women and one innocent man. An American civilian adviser was killed during the fighting.

The Afghan report says the U.S. strike occurred when the Afghan intelligence service came under attack by militants during an operation to arrest two insurgent commanders in the Shigal district of Kunar province. The area is a major infiltration route for insurgents from sanctuaries in northwestern Pakistan to Afghanistan.

The U.S.-led coalition has confirmed that it conducted airstrikes in Kunar province that day but has not confirmed civilian casualties, saying the investigation is ongoing.

Afghan forces came under fire with heavy and light weapons as they were about to leave the area.

The U.S. civilian adviser was killed in the assault, causing Americans to call for air support to remove the body at the same time that houses believed to be containing suspected insurgents were bombarded for hours by planes.

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