6 ANA soldiers arrested for wedding deaths
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Six Afghan National Army (ANA) service members have been detained for investigation in connection with a rocket strike that killed more than two dozen wedding guests and injured nearly 50, mostly children and women, in southern Helmand province.
Several mortar rounds hit a house where a wedding celebration was being held in the troubled Sangin district on Wednesday evening, overshadowing the official takeover of security from NATO forces on Thursday.
Local officials and residents said it were their own troops who fired mortars near the house in the Mian Rodi village, killing 26 people and injuring 45 others.
President Ashraf Ghani said he was shocked over the incident that resulted from a clash between security forces and insurgents.
The president ordered an investigation into the incident and reporting the findings to his office, a statement from his spokesman’s office said. The president also expressed his condolences for the "tragic incident."
Deputy Helmand Governor Mohammad Jan Rassoul Yar acknowledged the military was responsible for the strike. He said soldiers manning the check post from where the rounds were fired had been referred to a military court.
“The Sangin district experiences fighting almost daily. But we are investigating the tragic incident and the responsible one will be taken to task,” he reassured.
The Taliban also said the rockets had been fired by Afghan forces and vowed revenge for the deaths. The rebels condemned the incident and said once again the people of Afghanistan and the international community could see the barbaric attacks on innocent civilians by their domestic and invading enemies.
The Afghan military said it was returning fire at militants who attacked an army post near to where the celebration was being held.
Villagers also told army officials who arrived on Friday that it was their own soldiers who fired the stray rocket.
A large number of people took to the streets on Thursday in Lashkargah, demanding a government investigation and resignation local political leaders.
The rocket strike came just hours before President Ghani marked the official takeover of full security responsibility early Thursday, ending NATO's 13-year combat mission.
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