An Afghan governor says 16 people were killed during strikes by U.S. and Afghan forces in northeastern Afghanistan while the troops were hunting for fugitive militant leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Gov. Tamim Nuristani says police have reached the site of Sunday's battle Nuristan province, where Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces believed Hekmatyar was meeting with top deputy Kashmir Khan.

Other provincial leaders say many civilians were killed in the hours-long clash, which included airstrikes in remote villages.

Nuristani said Monday it was too early to know if any of the 16 killed were civilians.

U.S. officials and the Afghan Defense Ministry have denied that civilians were killed.