13 militants killed in ISAF airstrikeBy Abdul Moeed Hashmi & Javed Hamim Kakar Jul 17, 2011 - 15:58
JALALABAD (PAN): Thirteen insurgents were killed during an airstrike on a school building in eastern Afghanistan, an official said Monday.
Two of the school's guards had been missing after the airstrike in the Khewa district, the town's administrative chief, Ejaz Ahmad Momand, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) strike targeted the Charshanba Dag School in the Badyali area on Sunday night in response to intelligence reportsthat militants were hiding there.
"While the Afghan-led security force moved to conduct an assessment of the building, they were engaged by insurgents using machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 rifles," said a statement from the alliance.
A suicide vest was recovered from the scene after the operation, which destroyed an arms cache belonging to the Taliban, the district chief said. Some of the dead bodies were taken to the district hospital, he added.
The bodies of 13 militants had been retrieved from beneath the rubble, Momand said, adding the school building was badly damaged as a result of the air raid, followed by a ground offensive that concluded in the afternoon.
Resident and tribal elder Malik Gulbas of Badyali urged the Taliban not to use school buildings for their attacks against security forces. The elder confirmed that some militants had been killed during the airstrike, but he had no exact figures.
Nangarhar Education Director Mohammad Asif Shinwari said that the militants hiding in the school were killed during the overnight airstrike.
He added two school guards, who are residents of the village, have been missing since the incident. Shinwari said nearly 1300 students attend the school.
Another tribal elder Haji Mia Gul said about 100 families had migrated from the area due to the operation, which caused no civilian casualties.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's spokesman, acknowledged the loss of 11 fighters in the airstrike and the subsequent operation.