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US air strike kills several civilians in Afghanistan

August 12, 2017

JALALABAD: Several civilians have been killed in an US air strike 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 US troops although there was no official confirmation from Nato.

“On Thursday afternoon, the American forces bombarded a civilian private vehicle... when they were travelling inside the district,” he said.

“Unfortunately, in the air strike 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 air strikes.

They have been regularly targeting insurgents of the militant Islamic State group who control several districts in restive Nangarhar.

Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s defence 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 said.

Nato said they were unable to provide any information when contacted.

Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial governor, said an unknown number of civilians had died but was unable to say who carried out the strike.

“I can confirm an air strike in Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province and it led to civilian casualties. For the time being, we do not have a precise figure about the casualties,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2017