Civilians among 45 killed in Afghan airstrikes against the Taliban | News


Afghan security forces air raids on Taliban fighters killed at least 45 people, including civilians, according to a local official.

Ali Ahmad Faqir Yar, governor of Adraskan district in Herat province, western Afghanistan, said Wednesday that at least eight civilians were among the dead.

“Forty-five people have so far been killed in airstrikes by security forces in the Kham Ziarat area. The Taliban were among those killed, ”he said.

It is not known how many of the remaining 37 were civilians and how many were Taliban.

Qari Mohammad Yousuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban, said in a statement that two airstrikes in Herat killed eight civilians and injured 12. Two local officials confirmed that there had been two rounds of airstrikes.

“Such attacks would force recently released prisoners who wish to lead a normal life to take up arms against the enemy,” Ahmadi said.

Acting Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid said on Thursday that Taliban fighters were killed in the attacks. His ministry released a statement saying it was investigating reports of civilian casualties and would make the findings public.

“The National Defense and Security Forces have the responsibility to protect the life and property of the population, in this regard, they use all opportunities and facilities and will spare no effort,” the statement said.

The air raids were condemned by the US envoy who was trying to start peace talks involving all parties.

Afghanistan: civilian casualties in the US air war | Fault lines

‘Spare no effort’

Habib Amini, a local official from the neighboring district of Guzara, confirmed the incident and said 45 people were killed and more injured.

Jailani Farhad, spokesman for the governor of Herat, told Anadolu News Agency that at least six key Taliban commanders involved in major assaults in Herat were targeted by the air raids.

The said the civilian casualties were caused by the explosion of a nearby landmine.

The US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, meanwhile, condemned the attack and called for an investigation.

“In Herat, photos and eyewitness accounts suggest that many civilians, including children, are among the victims of an Afghan airstrike. We condemn the attack and support an investigation, ”Zalmay Khalilzad said on Twitter, adding that Washington had also“ deplored ”the recent Taliban attacks.

The United States is withdrawing its troops under a deal struck with the Taliban in February, which was to pave the way for formal peace talks between the group and the Afghan government.

However, the disagreement over the release of prisoners demanded by the Taliban and the rise in violence in the country have hampered progress, and talks have not yet started.

The fragile Afghan peace agreement is based on the exchange of prisoners. Under the historic peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, approximately 5,000 Taliban prisoners should have been released from government prisons in exchange for the 1,000 members of the captive security forces in March.

But, according to the National Security Council, the government has so far released 4,019 Taliban, while the Taliban have released about half of the 1,000 prisoners it had agreed to release.

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission said recently that in the first six months of this year, a total of 1,213 civilians were killed, while 1,744 were injured in 880 incidents.


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