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Allen said the U.S.-Afghan force called in an airstrike after taking fire, presumably from inside the house, and that the troops did not know civilians were inside.
" A hand grenade was thrown. Three of our people were wounded. We called for the people who were shooting to come out, and then the situation became more grave and innocent people were killed," he said.
Last year was the deadliest on record for civilians in the Afghan war, with 3,021 killed as insurgents ratcheted up violence with suicide attacks and roadside bombs, according to the United Nations.
The number of Afghan civilians killed dropped 36 percent in the first four months of this year compared with last year — a promising trend though the U.N. emphasizes that too many civilians are being caught up in violence as insurgents fight Afghan and foreign forces.
Anti-government forces, including the Taliban and other militants, were responsible for 79 percent of civilian casualties in the first four months of this year, according to the U.N. Afghan and foreign forces were responsible for 9 percent. It was unclear who was to blame for the remaining 12 percent.
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