US forces kill four Afghan civilians

File photo shows US soldiers near Shindand district, Herat, Afghanistan.

At least four Afghan civilians, including two children, have been killed by US forces in the western province of Herat, Press TV reports.

Two women and two children were killed after American forces opened fire on them in Shindand district of Herat Province.

The US military has confirmed the incident, but claimed that the victims were militants. Local officials have strongly condemned the attack.

Civilian casualties inflicted by US-led troops have increased anti-American sentiments in Afghanistan. The deaths have also been the main source of friction between Kabul and Washington over the past years.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of combating terrorism. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity remains despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops in the country.

The US-led war, which has caused record-high civilian and military casualties, has become the longest military conflict in the American history.