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Foreign troops kill nine Afghan soldiers official

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Foreign troops killed nine Afghan soldiers in so-called mistaken air strike in the southeast of the country overnight, the Afghan Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

Scores of Afghan civilians have been killed in air strikes by international troops in Afghanistan this year, Afghan officials say, feeding a perception that NATO-led and U.S. coalition forces do not take enough care when calling in air support.

But it is still rare for foreign troops to hit their allies in the Afghan security forces.

Helicopter gunships pounded an Afghan army post on a road in Dowa Manda district of Khost province, a Taliban stronghold, district chief Lutfullah Babakarkheil said. Eight soldiers were killed and four wounded, he said.

The Afghan Defence Ministry in Kabul put the number of troops killed at nine.

“Nine have been martyred, three wounded, one critically in the attack by international forces,” said ministry spokesman Zaher Azimi, who declined to give further details.

The vast majority of foreign troops in Khost are American.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was looking into the report.

Violence in Afghanistan has reached its worst level this year since U.S.-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban government in late 2001 for refusing to surrender al Qaeda leaders behind the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.