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Air raids kill 9 soldiers in E Afghanistan
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Nine Afghan soldiers were killed and three others injured as the international troops carried out air strikes against suspected Taliban hideouts in Afghanistan's eastern province of Khost early Wednesday, Afghan Defense Ministry said in a press release.

"The international troops carried out air raids at 2 a.m. local time (2130 GMT) in Syed Khil district resultantly leaving nine soldiers dead and three others wounded," the press release added without further elaboration.

Lutfullah Babakerkhil the district chief of Duamanda told Xinhua that the incident occurred early morning in the above district when the US-led Coalition forces carried out strikes killing eight soldiers and wounding five others including a civilian.

He asserted that the air raid took place when a military operation against militants was underway in the area.

Meanwhile, the US-led Coalition forces in a statement confirmed that Coalition forces "may have mistakenly killed and injured Afghan National Army soldiers last night in Khowst province."

"As a Coalition forces convoy was returning from a previous operation, they were involved in multiple engagements," it said, " as a result of the engagements, ANA soldiers were killed and injured."

However, it did not disclose the number of killed and injured.

Such mistakes during military operations have claimed hundreds of lives over the past seven years and the bloodiest one in 2008 left 91 non-combatants dead in the western Herat province in August which triggered a widespread protest across the war-torn country.

Conflicts and Taliban-related militancy have claimed the lives of more than 4,500 people mostly insurgents, according to officials so far this year in Afghanistan.

(Xinhua News Agency October 22, 2008)

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