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Balkh residents protest civilian deaths in airstrike

Balkh residents protest civilian deaths in airstrike

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Jan 26, 2020 - 21:24

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Dozens residents of northern Balkh province took to the streets and protested against the killing of seven civilians in an airstrike.

Seven people of a family were killed as a result of an airstrike in Boki area of Balkh district on Saturday evening. Children and women were among the dead, locals claimed.

Haji Shah Mohammad, a resident, told Pajhwok Afghan News that two helicopters bombarded the village on Saturday evening.

Abdul Ghani, 60, head of the victim family, said he lost seven of his members in the airstrike. He demanded the government arrest and punish individuals involved in the massacre.

“It was evening and womeninfo-icon were preparing food for dinner and children were playing in the courtyard when coppers dropped bombs and demolished my house,” he said.

He said there had been no Talibaninfo-icon or government forces in his village from the past one week because the Taliban fled after security forces launched their operation.

Enraged protesters brought bodies of the killed civilians to the Balkh district centre and the district police headquarters.

Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon Member Gul Rahman Hamdard said a political game was being played in the province and its victims were common people.

“Government forces should refrain from activities that further widen gape between government and the people.”

Ghulam Hazrat, a tribal elder from Boki village, said people were tired of fighting and deaths. He asked the president to stop the killing of civilians.

“People are fed up with personal enmities. We want the president to stop such incidents. If one can rule by force, the previous government would have lasted,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence said it has tasked a delegation to investigate the incident, according to a statement. It added if civilians had suffered in the incident, the ministry would strictly follow the law.

Operation codenamed Shaheen is underway in Balkh district for the past one week.

/ma

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