A senior NATO commander in Afghanistan conceded on Wednesday for the first time that civilians may have been killed during a military attack in the east of the country this week.
NATO denied the killings the Afghan government says NATO forces killed 12 Afghans in Tuesday's pre-dawn strike. "It looks like all of them may have been civilians, including women."
However, hundreds of students took to the streets in the eastern town of Jalalabad on Wednesday shouting "death to America" to protest against the alleged deaths of civilians during a NATO-led raid, witnesses said.
Last Mod: 09 Aralık 2009, 18:00
Most of the roughly 400 demonstrators were university students and blocked a key highway to the capital Kabul.
The protesters also demanded the release of those arrested and a classmate detained last month in his home province of Paktia, also in the east.
Lieutenant General David Rodriguez told journalists, there could "possibly" have been some civilians killed.
Several other people were detained, officials have said.
Civilian casualties caused by Western forces have deepened anger towards foreign troops.
Afghans are concerned that the influx of 30,000 more U.S. troops ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama last week will result in more attacks and higher civilian casualties.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, currently visiting Afghanistan, said Tuesday that preventing civilian deaths would be a "top priority".