A group of senior NATO generals have apologised for an airstrike that killed 12 children and two women at Nawzad in the southern Helmond province of Afghanistan.
The attack happened after US marines came under fire from suspected Taliban in the area, one US soldier was killed.
Five insurgents are believed to have taken refuge in a compound where the women and children were staying.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack and ordered his defence ministry to block foreign troops from taking part in night raids.
Most civilian casualties happen after dark and Karzai’s call for them to end will set his administration on a collision course with NATO, which claims that dozens of Taliban are either killed or detained while on night missions.
The deaths of civilians at the hands of foreign forces is a source of festering anger in Afghanistan.