19 civilians killed in Nuristan operation, claim officials
JALALABAD (PAN): Nineteen civilians were killed in last week's military operation in the Want Waigal district of eastern Nuristan province, two officials said on Monday. However, the Afghan National Army (ANA) rejected the claim as baseless.
The district, which had been under Taliban's control for the last three months, was retaken by ANA and coalition forces after a joint operation last week. After three days after the ANA withdrawal from the area, Taliban claimed regaining the town.
According to ANA sources, Afghan forces handed over the district to tribal elders and almost 40 militants were killed in the offensive.
Inayatullah Mazhabyar, head of the provincial council, said 19 residents, including a tribal elder, were killed while six others were detained by ISAF troops.
Mazhabyar said area residents, who welcomed the operation, were harassed by the Pakistani Taliban in Kamdesh, Barg-i-Matal and Want Waigal districts.
But a spokesman for the 201st Selab Military Corps, Col. Noman Hatifi, insisted the operation caused no civilian deaths in the district.
Provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Shamsur Rahman Nuristani, admitted civilian causalities had happened during the operation in the district. He confirmed that Ramadan had lost six family members in the ISAF airstrike.
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