A British Royal Air Force (RAF) drone has killed four Afghan civilians and injured two more during an attack on a Taliban commander, the British ministry of defence has confirmed.

The UK defence department verified a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, which revealed that four civilians died when a Reaper drone being controlled from a US Air force base in Nevada attacked a truck carrying a known commander.

"On 25 March, a UK Reaper was tasked to engage and destroy two pick up trucks," the defence ministry said on Wednesday.

"Sadly, four Afghan civilians were also killed and a further two Afghan civilians were injured," added the ministry "with deep regret".

Two fighters were also killed in the attack.

The ministry said the airstrike marked the first time a British Reaper drone has been responsible for civilian deaths since the RAF began using the pilotless aircraft over the war-torn nation in 2007.

The revelation may complicate the role of British commanders in Helmand province, as they attempt to secure the trust of local people ahead of a change of soldiers later this month, when Afghan forces take the lead for security in an area now under UK control.

Source: Agencies