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8 civilians killed in Afghanistan air strike

Jalalabad (Afghanistan): An air strike in Afghanistan has killed eight civilians, officials said on Saturday, as the war-torn country prepares for a "reduction in violence" under a deal between Taliban militants and the US. The incident took place in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Friday when a vehicle carrying civilians was struck, according to Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

"The target of the attack was Taliban militants who wanted to establish checkpoints on the road, but unfortunately civilians were hit," he told AFP, putting the death toll at eight.

Talib Khan, a relative of the dead, told AFP the victims had been driving home from a picnic when their truck was hit, killing everyone inside.

Another relative, Shah Mir, 70, said: "No other breadwinner is left in my house, all my three sons were killed. I have a dozen grandchildren, I don't know how to bring them up."

It was not immediately clear who bombed the vehicle, but the US and Afghan militaries are the only forces in Afghanistan conducting air strikes.

A US military spokesman said they were "looking into the incident" and an Afghan defence ministry spokesman said they had launched an investigation. The strike comes after US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday an agreement with the Taliban was in place for a "conditions-based" seven-day reduction in violence.

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