LONDON, England (CNN) -- The British government says its troops were responsible for an airstrike Tuesday that killed two women and two children in southern Afghanistan. At least 10 others were injured.
Insurgents fired upon the troops around Helmand on Tuesday and the troops returned fire, according to a statements issued by the British Ministry of Defence and NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
"We deeply regret that the incident happened and do everything we can to mitigate the risk to the civilian population but maintain the right to self-defense which obviously includes returning fire against insurgent firing positions," the Ministry of Defence said. "There will be a thorough investigation in this unfortunate event."
NATO's security force is an alliance of about 40 nations charged with supporting the Afghan government in maintaining security in the country.
"Tragically, a group of civilians received fire causing the death of two women and two children," the NATO release said.
Troops took the 10 other civilians to an ISAF base. At least one of the wounded was a child.
The NATO statement said security forces killed a number of insurgents in the gun battle without suffering any casualties themselves.
The Canadian military, one of the entities fighting in southern Afghanistan, reported on Tuesday that one of its soldiers was found dead in a room at Kandahar Airfield. Canadian authorities are investigating "although enemy action has been ruled out." Eighty Canadian soldiers have died in the Afghan conflict. E-mail to a friend