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14 civilians killed in Musa Qala airstrike: Relatives

14 civilians killed in Musa Qala airstrike: Relatives

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Sep 23, 2019 - 16:29

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Fourteen people were killed including womeninfo-icon and children when an airstrike hit their pick up vehicle in Musa Qala district of southern Helmand province on Sunday night, relatives said Monday.

Another people were wounded in the airstrike, said Haji Talibinfo-icon, a relative of the victims. He told Pajhwok Afghan News that helicopters targeted them on their way to a wedding party at 10pm Sunday night.

He said 14 people, including women and children, were killed and eight others wounded in the overnight bombardment.

Abdul Hakim, another relative, said: “I was there and we gave them signs that we are civilians, including women and children, but we were bombarded.

He said many people were killed and only a handful people were rescued from the overnight assault.

Najeebullah, an eyewitness, said several people were shot dead after the bombardment. “The people who opened fire were so brutal that they even gunned down women and children,” he added.

Abdul Majeed Akhundzada, deputy chairman of the Provincial Council, confirmed the incident and said more than 40 people, mostly women and children, suffered casualties.

He emphasized and called on relevant organs to seriously investigate the overnight brutal assault and gave the perpetrators severe punishment.

But the governor’s house in a statement said that special forces conducted an air-and-ground operation in Musa Qala district on Sunday night.

The statement said 14 Talibaninfo-icon, including six foreigners, were killed in the overnight raid.

It added three organizers of huge attacks ---Ehsan, Haqbeen, and Farhad -- were also among the dead. The statement said the governor’s house would seriously investigate civilian casualties in the operation.

A statement from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said 22 foreign militants were killed and 14 others captured alive in the overnight raid.

The arrested insurgents included five Pakistani nationals and one Bangladeshi, the statement said, adding the foreign militants’ group was involved in organization of terrorist attacks.

It added that a large warehouse of supplies and equipment was also destroyed during the raid. The MoD would assess claims regarding .

Meanwhile, a US military source told Pajhwok it was a US forces counter terrorism strike and confirmed the foreign fighters were members of Al Qaeda.

“Right now we believe there may have been two non-combatants killed. One when a fighter with an SVEST detonated,” the source said, adding the other casualty was during an airstrike on a building.

A barricaded shooter refused to come out after a call out, he said. “The Taliban claiming civilian casualties appears to be more propaganda. We are still assessing the other claims of civilian casualties.”

civilian casualties in Musa Qala district and would update media.

The Taliban confirmed the airstrike. Their spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said that the airstrike targeted vehicles of a wedding party in Musa Qala district on Sunday night.

He claimed many civilians; including women and children, were killed in the air raid.

Sa/ma

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