Air strikes in eastern Afghanistan have killed not less than 45 people, including civilians and Taliban fighters.
While disclosing this on Wednesday July 22, 2020, Ali Ahmad Faqir Yar, governor of Adraskan district in the eastern Afghan province of Herat, said at least eight civilians were among the dead.
“Forty-five people have been killed so far in air strikes by security forces in the Kham Ziarat area. Taliban were among those killed,” he said.
It was unclear how many of the remaining 37 were civilians and how many were members of the Taliban.
Qari Mohammad Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, confirmed in a statement that two air strikes in Herat killed eight civilians and wounded 12.
“Such attacks would compel recently freed prisoners who wish to live normal lives to take up arms once again against the enemy,” said Ahmadi.
Afghanistan’s defence ministry said it was investigating allegations of civilian casualties in attacks by Afghan forces in the area.
“The results of the investigation will be shared with the public and the media. The National Defense and Security Forces have the responsibility to protect the lives and property of the people, in this regard, they use all the opportunities and facilities and will not spare any effort,” a statement reads.
Habib Amini, a local official in neighbouring Guzara district, confirmed the incident and said 45 people were killed and more injured.
A spokesman for United States forces in Afghanistan said they had not taken part in Wednesday’s air strikes.
Jailani Farhad, spokesman for the Herat governor, told Anadolu news agency at least six key Taliban commanders involved in major assaults in Herat were targeted in the air raids.
He added that the civilian casualties were caused by a land mine blast nearby.