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Civilian casualties claim after NATO rocket in Afghansitan

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rocket was fired against a group of nine people preparing a roadside bomb
  • ISAF said it was aware of civilian casualty allegations
  • Civilian death in previous ISAF operations have caused anger in Afghanistan
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Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The NATO command in Afghanistan said Thursday it is investigating a rocket strike in Helmand province, and claims of civilian casualties.

The incident occurred Wednesday night near Babaji village in Lashkar Gah, when a rocket was fired against a group of nine people preparing a roadside bomb, according to the International Security Assistance Force.

ISAF said it had become aware of civilian casualty allegations from media reports. Reports also said there was an airstrike and rocket attacks in Lashkar Gah, ISAF said.

But ISAF said there was a single rocket strike targeting people trying to plant an improvised explosive device and it was not aware that civilians were in the area at the time of the strike.

"ISAF takes all credible allegations of civilian casualties very seriously and investigates each allegation to determine the facts," said Navy Capt. Jane Campbell, ISAF Joint Command spokeswoman. "If any civilians were injured through our actions we deeply regret it."

Deaths of civilians in ISAF operations or in crossfire between troops and militants have angered the Afghan people and the country's government, and international forces have been working to avoid such casualties.

ISAF Thursday also reported other incidents in Afghanistan:

-- Afghan and international troops chasing down a Taliban militant Wednesday killed several militants and detained a group of suspected insurgents in Wardak province.

-- A militant was killed and another was detained in Khowst province.

-- The British Defence Ministry said one of its soldiers was killed on Thursday in a blast near Sangin, in central Helmand Province.

-- A U.S. service member was killed on Wednesday when insurgents in eastern Afghanistan attacked an ISAF patrol.