World

United States military denies airstrike killed civilians in Afghanistan

United States military denies airstrike killed civilians in Afghanistan

The district chief, Saaz Wali, told VOA eight of the victims belonged to the same family and were in a vehicle when a USA airstrike hit them.

The civilians were reportedly attempting to flee an ISIS advance when they were killed by a USA airstrike.

Afghan officials had said 11 civilians, including women and children, were killed when a private vehicle was struck in Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province, a hotbed of Islamic State activity, on Thursday.

At least 13 civilians, including 10 children, have been killed by a mortar shell in the Dawlatabad district of northwestern Faryab province, officials said on Saturday.

"The militants were observed loading weapons into a vehicle and were under surveillance until the vehicle was destroyed by an air strike", Bob Purtiman, a spokesman for the US military in Afghanistan, told Reuters.

This is the second false claim of civilian casualties in the same district within the last three weeks, the statement by USFOR-A added.

The Resolute Support and United States forces in Afghanistan have not commented so far.

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"In the strike, five insurgents were killed and two others were wounded", he told AFP.

Casualties among Afghan civilians, especially women and children, have risen to a record this year, according to a recent United Nations report.

They have been regularly targeting the militant Islamic State group fighters who control several districts in restive Nangarhar. "But, we have appointed a delegation to investigate if civilians are killed", he told AFP.

In June, at least three Afghan border police officers were killed in USA airstrikes in Helmand province.

The New York Times reported earlier Friday that Afghan officials said US aircraft killed 16 civilians as they tried to flee the area.

Deputy Chairman of Provincial Council Abdul Ahad Albak also said the victims were civilians.


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