KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan officials say a fierce battle between U.S.-backed Afghan forces and Taliban militants in a remote corner of eastern Afghanistan has left nearly 20 people dead, including 11 Afghan children killed in an airstrike and an American civilian adviser.
The fighting along a main infiltration route from Pakistan on Saturday was indicative of a surge in hostilities as Afghanistan's spring fighting season gets underway.
The U.S.-led coalition confirms that it launched airstrikes in Kunar province where the deaths occurred, stressing that they were requested by international forces. The coalition says it's assessing the incident, but cannot confirm that civilians were killed.
The battle unfolded on the same day that a total of six Americans, including three U.S. soldiers, died in violent attacks. In addition to the U.S. adviser killed during the operation in the east, two others -- a female foreign service officer and a Defense Department employee -- died in a suicide bombing in southern Zabul province during a trip to donate books to Afghan students.