Children among 16 dead in new violence
KABUL (PAN): An overnight NATO airstrike killed five civilians, including three children, in eastern Nangarhar province, with three non-combatants, five militants and three security personnel falling prey to separate incidents of violence, officials said on Saturday.
The airstrike took place on Friday night in the Zangal village of Behsud district, Nangarhar deputy police chief Masoom Khan Hashmi told Pajhwok Afghan News. He had no idea whether the dead were civilians or militants.
But a senior official at the governor’s house, Qaribullah Hejrat, who travelled to the area for an investigation, confirmed all those killed were civilians. He accused NATO forces of violating an agreement with the Afghan government.
He explained security responsibility for the area had already been transferred to Afghan forces and foreign troops had no right to conduct airstrikes there under the agreement.
Hijrat alleged foreign forces had carried out the airstrike without any contract with local security officials. “We have shared the issue with officials in Kabul. Such actions by foreign troops are unacceptable.”
Tribal elder Niamat asked NATO to provide evidence if those killed in the airstrike were militants. “Foreign forces have to answer our question. People will stage protests against the killers,” he warned.
Niamat stressed the perpetrators should be brought to justice and prosecuted within Afghanistan, asking the government to seriously investigate the issue. Neither the Taliban nor ISAF have so far commented on the incident.
According to another report, five militants and three Afghan Local Police (ALP) members were killed during a clash in southeastern Paktia province late on Friday, police said.
Police chief Brig. Gen. Zalmai Oryakhel said the clash took place in the Tangi area of Patan district after a group of insurgents stormed an ALP post in the area.
But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed 22 ALP members were killed and wounded in the Tangi clash. Mujahid also confirmed the death of two fighters during the ensuing clash.
Elsewhere, a tribal elder, his son and driver were killed when the car they were traveling in struck a roadside bomb in western Farah province on Saturday morning.
The victims were on their way to Khak-i-Safid district when they came under attack, he said, accusing the Taliban of planting the bomb. However, the Taliban have not yet commented on the blast.
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