Civilian deaths due to operations conducted by Western forces have enraged Afghans and made the troops hugely unpopular.

In the latest such case, Afghans took to the streets in different cities on Wednesday to protest against the alleged killing of 10 civilians, including schoolchildren, in military operations by international forces in the country's east.

A statement from the office of Hamid Karzai, the president, said the deaths occurred on Sunday in a remote part of Kunar province on the border with Pakistan.

Although United Nations figures show far more civilians are killed by the Taliban, deaths caused by foreign troops spark wide resentment and undermine international forces' attempts to weaken the Taliban by building trust among the Afghan population.