At least eight women have died in a Nato air strike in Afghanistan's eastern province of Laghman, local officials say.
Nato has conceded that between five and eight civilians died as it targeted insurgents, and offered condolences.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai "strongly condemned" the deaths and has sent officials to the area to investigate.
Earlier on Sunday, four US soldiers with the Nato forces were killed in an attack by suspected Afghan police.
The attack in southern Zabul province brought to 51 the
number of Nato troops killed in "insider attacks" this year, and came a
day after two UK soldiers were killed at a checkpoint in Helmand by a
man in police uniform.
Local officials in the remote area of Laghman told the BBC at
least eight women had died, while provincial council member Gulzar
Sangarwal said nine were dead.
Major Adam Wojack, a spokesman for the Isaf international
forces, said between five and eight civilians could have been killed,
and said an investigation was under way.
He told the BBC that a group of some 45 insurgents had been targeted by an Isaf unit, and many had been killed.
Civilian casualties by Nato-led forces have strained relations with the Afghan government
"Unfortunately, we have become aware of possible Isaf-caused
civilian casualties as a result of this strike, numbering five-eight
Afghans," he said.
"Isaf offers its sincerest condolences to the affected
community and family members, as well as to the Afghan people,
concerning this tragic loss of life."
At least seven women were also reported to have been injured.
Provincial health director Latif Qayumi said some of them injured were
girls aged as young as 10.
The Laghman governor's office said a number of civilians had
gone to the mountains to collect wood and nuts from a forest in the
Noarlam Saib valley, a common practice in the area.
The mountainous, highly forested terrain remote from
government control make the area attractive to Taliban and other
insurgent groups, correspondents say.
The issue of civilian deaths by international forces has created tensions between the US President Karzai.
In August, UN figures suggested the number of civilians
killed and injured in the first half of 2012 had fallen 15% on the same
period of 2011.
Analysts said increased sensitivity on both sides about the
impact of civilian deaths had led to more carefully targeted attacks.
In his statement,
Mr Karzai expressed his "sorrow" over the incident, saying he "strongly
condemns the airstrike by Nato forces which resulted in the deaths of
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