March 4, 2017
At least eight Afghan civilians, including four children, have been killed and 22 more injured in a suspected airstrike in the Bala Boluk district of western Farah Province.
Families of the victims said the civilians were hit by an airstrike on Saturday, contradicting a report by the provincial governor spokesman Mohammad Naser Mehri, who said the casualties were the result of a roadside bomb explosion.
Authorities of a local hospital also said those wounded in the incident were taken there for medical treatment, noting that three of them are in critical condition.
Local Tolo news outlet further cited relatives of the victims as saying that all those killed and injured in the attack were civilians – most of the women and children.
According to the report, two army helicopters bombed a “convoy of civilians” as they were evacuating the area due to an ongoing military operation that recently began against militants in parts of the district.
The convoy was reportedly en route from a village in Bala Boluk to a safer place in the violence-hit district when it came under attack.
An official in the Farah Provincial Council was also confirmed the air raid and the number of the casualties, while Defense Ministry spokesman General Dawlat Warizi said an investigation is underway into the incident.
Afghanistan is grappling with insecurity since the 2001 US-led military invasion of the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror, which removed the Taliban militant group from power.
However, many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops.
In recent years, the Daesh terror group has also managed to gain a foothold in the country’s east, further complicating Kabul’s military operations.
In another development, at least 23 local elements of the Daesh terrorist group were reported killed in separate operations conducted in Zabul and Nangarhar provinces in southern and eastern Afghanistan.
Defense Ministry spokesman Waziri said at least 17 loyalists of the terror group were killed in an operation conducted by the Special Forces in Arghandab district of Zabul.
He added in a Friday briefing that the operations were conducted late on Thursday targeting the terrorists in Malik Khel village of Arghandab.
The official also stated that six Daesh affiliates were killed in an airstrike conducted in Lalpur district of Nangarhar province.
Zabul is among the relatively volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where the Taliban as well as Daesh terrorists are actively operating in a number of its districts.
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