US airstrike kills civilians in Afghanistan

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KABUL: Several civilians have been killed in an U.S. airstrike in eastern Afghanistan, local officials said on Friday, the latest setback in efforts to bring peace to the war-torn country. Saaz Wali Shinwari, the district governor of Haska Mina in Nangarhar province, said the raid was carried out by U.S. troops although there was no official confirmation from NATO. “On Thursday afternoon, the American forces bombarded a civilian private vehicle… when they were traveling inside the district,” he told AFP. “Unfortunately, in the airstrike we have casualties. Eleven people were killed and one wounded. All the victims,which included women and children, were civilians and they were from one family. The victims were beyond recognition, and they were placed inside the sacks and were buried late last night,” he added. Of the roughly 13,000 foreign forces in Afghanistan only the United States carries out airstrikes. They have been regularly targeting Islamic State insurgents who control several districts in restive Nangarhar. Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s defense ministry, said the strike was carried out by foreign forces in coordination with Afghan officials. “In the strike, five insurgents were killed and two others were wounded. We do not have any news about civilian casualties. But, we have appointed a delegation to investigate if civilians are killed,” he told AFP. NATO said they were unable to provide any information. The United States military has deployed Special Forces and airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Afghanistan and says it has killed dozens of the group’s leaders and hundreds of fighters this year. Casualties among Afghan civilians, especially women and children, have risen to a record this year, according to a recent report from the United Nations. Most of those deaths have been attributed to insurgents, particularly through suicide bombings, rather than to airstrikes and other pro-government actions, the report said.–AFP

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