Hundreds rally against civilian deaths in Nangarhar
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Hundreds of people on Tuesday protested against what they claimed a US drone strike that killed and wounded many civilians in Achin district of eastern Nangarhar province.
The early Wednesday’s morning drone strike hit a house in the district, with local officials saying killed 18 Daesh militants and four civilians. But local residents said all those killed were civilians.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in a statement had expressed condolence over the incident and had said 15 civilians were killed in the attack.
Residents of Shinwar region, where the drone strike took place, and a number of civil society activists and some provincial council members staged a protest rally against the incident in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital.
The protestors demanded an independent investigation into the attack. They carried photos of the victims and chanted slogans like “death to spy agents,” “death to negligent officials, “we want Achin massacre perpetrators punished, “President please protect Shinwari.”
Ubaidullah Shinwari, a provincial council member and participant of the protest, said all those killed in the Achin airstrike were civilians. He said the government must investigate the incident.
“The UN has already investigated the incident and found the people killed were civilians, but the government did nothing so far and remains silent,” he said.
“It is the demand of all people from Shinwari that the president must investigate the attack, we set the government a 20-day deadline for investigation otherwise we would block Torkham-Jalalabad highway,” he added.
Nayk Amal Shinwari, another protestor, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Nangarhar government did not work for betterment of the Shinwari region.
He asked the central government to appoint an independent team for investigation into the Achin airstrike.
The protestors in their resolution letter demanded compensation for the victims’ families and an end to insecurity in the Shinwari zone, assistance to families displaced in the area and implementation of development projects.
They warned of closing the Torkham-Jalalabad highway and of boycotting the government if it did not respond to their demands.
On the other hand, Nangarhar governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said the provincial government had investigated the Achin incident but an independent delegation from capital Kabul should also investigate it.
Local residents’ investigation had found that all those killed in the airstrike were civilians but government officials’ investigation showed some Islamic State (IS) fighters were also among the dead, he said.
However, he said an independent delegation would thoroughly investigate about the incident.
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