21 civilians killed in 2 Afghan strikes

An Afghan National Army soldier in Sangin in August 2013.

An Afghan National Army soldier in Sangin in August 2013.   | Photo Credit: TYLER HICKS

Both were carried out late on Friday in the Sangin district

Airstrikes in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand Province have killed 21 civilians, including women and children, a lawmaker from the region said on Sunday.

Mohammad Hashim Alkozai said 13 civilians were killed in one strike and eight in another. Both were carried out late on Friday in the Sangin district. Mr. Alkozai said at least five other people were wounded in the air strikes. “Innocent people, women and children, are the only victims of the air strikes,” he said, adding that the military operations have stoked public anger.

Firing on forces

Omer Zwak, the Provincial Governor’s spokesman, said that insurgents fired on Afghan forces from a civilian area. He confirmed that air strikes had killed civilians but could not provide further information. He says an investigation has been launched.

Mr. Alkozai said he has raised concerns about civilian casualties in Parliament and with government officials, but that they have taken no action. Afghan forces are struggling to combat the Taliban, who hold sway over nearly half the country and carry out daily attacks on security forces.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban killed at least eight Afghan police in an attack on a check point in the northern Sari Pul Province late on Saturday, said Zabihullah Amani, the Governor’s spokesman. The Taliban attacked an Army check point in the province late on Friday, killing three soldiers and wounding four, Mr. Amani said.

In a separate development, the Afghan intelligence service said it had arrested three members of the Haqqani group, in connection with two bombings in Kabul that killed and wounded dozens of people.

The National Directorate of Security said the three suspects confessed to taking part in a truck bombing near the German Embassy in May 2017 that killed at least 90 people, and a November 2018 attack that killed five security contractors, including a British national.

The NDS also said it had arrested a professor and an imam in Kabul who had recruited hundreds of young people for the local Islamic State affiliate, sending them to the eastern Nangarhar Province for training. It said the imam confessed that his own nephew had carried out a suicide bombing in Kabul.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 2:09:35 AM |

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