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The Taliban have also threatened to increase their attacks against foreign targets as revenge for the controversial film. Taliban fighters last week attacked a large British base in southern Afghanistan, killing two U.S. Marines and destroying six fighter jets. NATO forces killed 14 insurgents and captured another who participated in the attack.

Zarghoon, the spokesman for Hizb-i-Islami, said recent events such as the mistaken bombing by NATO that killed eight women and girls who had gone out before dawn to gather firewood in remote eastern Laghman province, a traditional Hizb-i-Islami stronghold, has soured the organization’s desire for reconciliation talks.

“Americans have not taken any serious steps for peace,” he said. “They killed civilians in Laghman two days ago who had gone to cut wood. When the Americans show they are serious about talks and a solution, we will talk peace then.”

The U.S.-led coalition acknowledged that civilians had been killed and expressed its regret over the airstrike. It insisted known insurgents had been the target.


Associated Press writers Kathy Gannon in Islamabad and Rahim Faiez and Heidi Vogt in Kabul contributed to this report.