September 25, 2018
ISLAMABAD — The United Nations announced Tuesday it has received “multiple, credible allegations” the latest anti-Taliban airstrikes by pro-government forces in Afghanistan killed at least nine civilians, mostly women and children.
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan expressed its concern about the rising number of civilian casualties from airstrikes this year in the conflict-ridden country.
The latest incident of civilian casualties occurred Saturday in the northeastern Kapisa province where “aerial ordnance” destroyed the home of a teacher, according to UNAMA. It noted the attack in Tagab district killed nine civilians, including four children and three women.
“All the victims from the attack were from the same family, including grandparents and children aged between two and 12. Five of the six other family members who were injured when their home was destroyed were women and young children,” the mission said, and added it is still in the process of establishing facts.
UNAMA noted that it was not immediately clear whether the strike was carried out by U.S.-led international military forces or by the Afghan Air Force.
A statement by the U.S. military Monday confirmed an airstrike in Kapisa, which wounded six members of local pro-government militias. It, however, denied the attack caused “casualties of non-combatants.”
The U.N. mission in its statement Tuesday reminded all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations to protect civilian from harm and called for ensuring independent and “effective” investigations into these incidents.
It did not mention another operation by pro-government forces that allegedly also killed at least 12 civilians in Maidan Wardak province late Sunday.
Afghan officials said the raid targeted a Taliban-run prison and rescued eight people, mostly members of the Special Forces. They said the operation killed more than 40 insurgents.
The Taliban and local Afghan politicians alleged the joint operation killed at least 13 civilians, including women and children. It was not possible to independently verify the claims.
UNAMA has documented a 52 percent increase in civilian casualties from air operations by Afghan forces and their foreign partners in the first six months of 2018, with women and children more than half of the casualties.
The mission warned Tuesday that since the release of UNAMA’s mid-year report on civilian casualties, it has continued to record increasing numbers of civilian casualties caused by airstrikes.