Civilians killed in NATO raid: Afghan police

ISAF says "initial reports" indicate no civilian was hurt in the incident.

Kandahar: Afghan police on Monday said that three civilians were killed when NATO-led troops chased a Taliban leader through mud-brick houses in a village in troubled southern Afghanistan.

NATO`s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said that according to "initial reports" no civilian was hurt in the incident, but confirmed that several insurgents were killed in Helmand province, a Taliban heartland.

Deputy provincial police chief, Kamaluddin Khan, said that Western troops raided houses in Kajaki district, killing at least three civilians and 14 insurgents late Sunday.

"Three civilians have been killed," he said.

ISAF released a statement with a full description of the incident, saying it killed insurgents fighting house to house while chasing a local Taliban commander. It did not give a figure for the rebels` casualties.

"Initial reports indicate that no civilians were injured during the mission," the statement said.

A reporter saw eight people, including one woman and two children, in a hospital in the neighbouring province of Kandahar where they were admitted with injuries. The patients said the injuries were caused by foreign troops.

Two men died of their injuries, one en route to hospital and the other upon arrival at the medical facility, doctors and relatives said.

Thousands of Afghan civilians have died in insurgent attacks and operations by Afghan and Western troops since the war, an Islamic insurgency by remnants of the Taliban regime, began in 2001.