Up to 70 civilians were reportedly killed in the Farah province of Afghanistan in a battle between Taliban insurgents and coalition forces on Tuesday, adding friction to already tense relations between the U.S. and Afghan governments.

According to Mohammad Nieem Qadderdan, a former top official in the Farah district of Bala Baluk, “These houses that were full of children and women and elders were bombed by planes.” The U.S. military is investigating the claims.

Los Angeles Times:

Civilian casualties are likely to remain a highly sensitive topic in coming months with the arrival of some 20,000 additional American troops and the ongoing Afghan election campaign. Western military officials say they expect an increased level of violence as coalition forces pursue the insurgents into areas where the Taliban previously operated freely, including much of Farah.

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