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‘Civilians suffer casualties in Ghanikhel raid’

‘Civilians suffer casualties in Ghanikhel raid’

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Jan 15, 2017 - 19:11

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): All those killed, wounded and arrested during an Afghan special forces’ operation in Ghanikhel district of eastern Nangarhar province were civilians, a source said on Sunday.

The raid was carried out by the Afghan Special Forces in Shpagwistama Wyali locality of the district on Friday night in pursuit of Al Qaeda members.

Governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani on Friday told Pajhwok Afghan News that four Al Qaeda members, including the group’s financial affairs in-charge, were arrested in the operation.

He had said six people were also killed and three others wounded in retaliation against the Afghan security forces. However, he did not identify those people killed and injured.

But local residents said all the injured or killed were civilians including teenagers.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Nangarhar governor’s house has been sent to the area to investigate the incident and identify those suffered casualties.

Khogyani today said the delegation had completed its investigation and the shared its findings with the governor’s house.

He said the governor was reviewing the investigation report and would share his information with the media.

However, an official privy to the investigation said the investigation showed all those killed, injured or arrested in the raid were civilians.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official said the casualties took place when the Afghan forces trying to capture an Al Qaeda member came under attack from a house.

Nangarhar residents accuse the Afghan Special Forces of often inflicting casualties on civilians during their operations.

A provincial council member, Israrullah Murad, pointing to an operation of the forces in Kama district, said four innocent brothers were killed in the raid. He said the special forces always committed mistakes in their operations.

The forces should conduct their operations in consultation with local elders and influential figures to prevent civilian casualties, he said.

Provincial council secretary, Zabihullah Zamarai, was of the same view and said such operations created distance between the government and the people.

“If the Afghan Special Forces arrest anti-government figures, we appreciate it, but if they cause casualties to civilians, it is condemnable,” he said.

The governor’s spokesman, in response to people’s views, said that Governor Gulab Mangal had always stressed protection of civilians and had advised the special forces in this regard.

He said casualties usually happened when people retaliated during operations.

The Afghan Special Forces in the past too have killed civilians. Earlier, a UN employee was killed in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, and four member of a family, all religious scholars, were killed in Kama district by the Special Forces.

mds/ma

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