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In brief: Attack on Taliban takes civilian toll

Sun., March 27, 2011

Kabul, Afghanistan – A NATO airstrike in southern Afghanistan targeting Taliban militants accidentally killed civilians, NATO said Saturday, the latest in a string of deaths this month that have inflamed tensions between Washington and the Afghan government.

The incident occurred Friday in Helmand province, a longtime Taliban stronghold.

A NATO spokesman said a coalition forces aircraft launched a strike on two vehicles, one of which was thought to be carrying a senior Taliban commander.

The Taliban commander was believed killed in the airstrike, although that has yet to be confirmed, the spokesman said.

Helmand provincial authorities said seven civilians were killed in the airstrike and five were wounded, and that they were in a car near the targeted vehicles.

Protests continue in Syrian cities

Damascus, Syria – Syria’s long-entrenched government remained under threat on Saturday as protesters marched again for greater political freedom in several cities.

Setting fire to buildings in at least two cities, they rejected conciliatory words from spokespeople for President Bashar al-Assad.

In the small seaside city of Latakia, some 300 protesters burned tires and attacked storefronts to press for the removal of an emergency law in place since 1962.

A building used by Assad’s ruling Baath Party was burned. Security forces responded with gunfire, killing several people and wounding 70.


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