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Children killed in Afghan firefight

  • Story Highlights
  • Afghan civilians killed in as Australian troops battled Taliban
  • Australian defense ministry says five children among dead, two children injured
  • Australian Defense Force is investigating the incident in Oruzgan Province
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(CNN) -- Five children were among "a number" of civilians killed in a firefight between insurgents and Australian troops in Afghanistan's Oruzgan Province, Australia's Defense Ministry said in a news release issued Friday.

The firefight took place early Thursday, when members of a Special Operations Task Group were conducting clearance operations in the province, the ministry said.

"During the conduct of this operation, the soldiers were fired upon by Taliban insurgents," it said. "The SOTG engaged the insurgents, returning fire in accordance with their rules of engagement."

While no troops were injured, "a number of people have been killed and wounded during this incident," the ministry said. "Current reporting indicates that those killed include a suspected insurgent and, sadly, local nationals."

The civilian casualties included "five children killed, and two children and two adults injured," it said.

There was no immediate reaction to the report from Afghan officials.

The Australian Defense Force is investigating the incident, the ministry said. The injured were treated on site and taken to medical facilities.

The Australian military is "obviously concerned about any loss of life," the statement said.

Australian soldiers were continuing operations in southern Afghanistan, the ministry said.

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