Airstrikes kill civilians in Afghanistan

Qiam Noori
·2-min read

Several civilians have been killed in an airstrike by Afghan forces in the country's south-western Nimruz province, officials say.

It remains unclear how many people were killed, as officials provided differing figures on Sunday.

Provincial councillor Baz Mohammad Nasir told dpa that the airstrike in the Khashrud district of the province left at least 14 dead, including women and children.

Nasir said two more people had been wounded in the incident.

However, councillor Nematullah Seddiqi said the incident left at least 14 dead and one wounded.

He said that the Afghan air force had targeted several high profile Taliban members, in two areas of the district.

Another local councillor, Bibi Khair-un Nisa Ghumai, said the incident left eight civilians dead.

And Nimruz deputy governor Abdul Nabi Burahawi said that it was unclear how many civilians had been hurt.

Burahawi said a commission had already left the provincial capital and was heading to the district to establish how many people had been injured or killed.

The Defence Ministry's 215th corps said in a statement that reports had been received of civilian casualties after the airstrikes and that these would be investigated.

The reports followed a bombing in Kabul that killed a spokesman for an Afghan state-sponsored security firm and two of his colleagues, the Interior Ministry said earlier on Sunday.

Zia Wadan, the spokesman for the National Public Protection Force (NPPF), and his colleagues were on their way to the office when the bomb went off, Tariq Arian, a ministry spokesman said.

It was not clear whether a magnetic bomb had been stuck to the car or a roadside bomb was used in the attack. Investigations were ongoing, Arian said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the incident but Arian blamed the Taliban.

NPPF is a semi-autonomous state security firm that provides services for national and international organisations as well as state and non-state economic projects throughout the country.

Kabul has seen a wave of targeted killings in recent weeks, with many of the victims journalists, civil society activists or media figures. Afghan security forces have had little success in preventing such attacks.

Meanwhile, in the south-eastern Ghazni province, a roadside bomb left one civilian dead and wounded six others, an official said on Sunday.

Although the target of the bombing yet to be identified, it was planted close to the police headquarters in the provincial capital, a local councillor Nasir Ahmad Faqiri said.

The ongoing fighting throughout the country has led to 1,282 civilian deaths in the first half of 2020, according to the United Nations, with another 2,176 people wounded in the same period.

The total number of civilians killed in the country since 2009 has surpassed 100,000, the UN said at the end of last year.