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Afghans claim 5 civilians killed in NATO strike

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan official says a NATO strike in the country’s east has killed five civilians, but the U.S.-led coalition says that it targeted insurgents and that its initial reports indicate no civilian casualties.

Lt. Col. Will Griffin, a spokesman for the coalition, said Saturday that the attack in Nangarhar province near an airport used by NATO forces was a “precision coordinated strike.”

Provincial spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said the late Friday strike killed five civilians. He did not provide any more details about the circumstances.

Afghan and NATO officials regularly differ as to whether civilians have been hit in attacks. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has made denunciations of reported civilian deaths in airstrikes a pillar of his political strategy.

Insurgents have increased attacks in recent months.

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