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60 Taliban killed in Sangin airstrike, says governor

60 Taliban killed in Sangin airstrike, says governor

Feb 11, 2017 - 18:54

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The governor, while not denying civilian casualties in an airstrike in Sangin district of southern Helmand province, on Saturday said the foreign troops targeted Talibaninfo-icon’s hideouts.

Governor Hayatullah Hayat told a joint news conference with military officials here that no civilian lived the incident site, three kilometers from the Sangin district centre. He said only Taliban insurgents’ hideouts existed in the targeted area.

Hayat said insurgents from various districts and provinces were assembling in Sangin to devise a plan for capturing the district.

He, however, said at least 60 insurgents were killed on Thursday night in security operations backed foreign air forces.

“There are allegations of civilian casualties in airstrikes in Mata Lakra and Chinari areas; we don’t reject because insurgents might have willfully brought civilians to the area for defaming the government.”

According to him, investigation is ongoing to find accurate information about the allegations echoed by Taliban and some government officials.

Hayat said underground tunnels had been dug from homes into the district centre and the homes were full of explosives which might be detonated in the air raid, inflicting casualties on civilians. He said there was a need for investigation.

Deputy provincial council head, Abdul Majid Akhundzada, said the air raids in Chinari and Mata Lakra areas struck two civilian houses of Bacha and Fida, killing 25 people, including womeninfo-icon and children, and six others were wounded. He didn’t know whether Taliban insurgents existed in the houses.

A resident of Mata Lakra area, Majnoon, said his brother Bacha’s house situated five kilometers from the bazaar was bombed. Twelve of his family members were killed, he said.

The dead included three women, four girls and five boys, he said, demanding immediate justice. Another Manjoon’s brother had died in a landmine explosion about two years back.

Former district chief of Nad Ali and resident of Sangin, Mullahinfo-icon Qasim, said besides that 13 people, including women and children, were killed during the bombardment of the home of a civilian named Fida Mohammad. Five others were injured in the raid.

The airstrikes in Sangin followed insurgent attacks on the Sangin district centre with each side claiming to have inflicted casualties on the other.

Meanwhile, NATOinfo-icon’s resolute support mission said they were aware of the allegations of civilian casualties. “We take every allegation very seriously. We'll work with our Afghan partners to review all related material,” RS spokesman Lt. Gen. Cleveland Charles said.

However, the Taliban claimed only civilians were killed in the bombardment.


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