Civilians, including children, killed in Afghan forces’ operation

An official says nine civilians killed after Afghan security forces bombed a Taliban hideout in Sayed Abad district.

At least nine civilians, including women and children, have been killed during an overnight operation in Afghanistan’s central province of Wardak, an official said.

The incident took place when Afghan security forces were bombing a Taliban hideout in Sayed Abad district of Wardak, provincial council member Masoud Shanizai said on Saturday.

The spokesman for the police chief of Wardak, Hekman Durrani, however, confirmed only six civilian deaths in the operation.

Last month, hundreds of Afghans protested in southern Helmand province against the deadly attacks on civilians.

Raids by security forces over the past two months on suspected Taliban hideouts in Helmand’s Sangin district killed at least 30 civilians and wounded many, including women and children.

Air raids in Sangin have further killed 21 civilians, officials said.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed its “strong concern” over the rise in the number of civilian casualties from air attacks in 2018.

It said aerial bombardment killed 149 civilians and wounded more than 200 others in the first half of 2018, up 52 percent from the same period last year.

In Kunduz in April last year, an Afghan air attack on a religious gathering killed or wounded 107 people, mostly children, UNAMA said in its report on the incident.

The Afghan government and the military said the attack had targeted a Taliban base where senior members of the group were allegedly planning attacks.

Afghan forces are struggling to combat the Taliban, which holds sway over nearly half of the country and carries out daily attacks on security forces.



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