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13 civilians killed in Afghan building airstrike

At least 13 civilians were killed in an airstrike that hit a residential building in a volatile district of eastern Nangarhar province early on Wednesday, an Afghan official said. The US military in Afghanistan said the incident was being investigated.

Esmatullah Shinwari, a Nangarhar lawmaker, said a crowd had gathered at the house in Achin district, near the Pakistan border, to welcome a tribal leader, returning from the Hajj.

At least 12 people were wounded in the strike, including the tribal leader, he said.

Hazrat Hussain Mashreqiwal, spokesman for the provincial police chief, said the airstrike had targeted Islamic State group loyalists. Afghan forces backed by the US military have been battling IS fighters in Achin for months.

The spokesman for the US military in Afghanistan, Brigadier General Charles Cleveland, confirmed the airstrike.

“US forces did conduct one counter-terrorism air strike in Achin district, Nangarhar province, September 28, and for operational security reasons we do not discuss the details of counter-terror operations,” Cleveland said.

“We are aware of some claims of Afghan casualties,” he said, adding that investigations were underway.
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