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Afghan airstrike blamed for nine civilian deaths

Airstrikes in Afghanistan's eastern Logar province on Monday, July 22, 2019, have killed at least nine civilians, including children, an official in the provincial capital says. Afghanistan's Civilian Protection Advocacy Group says July has been the deadliest month for Afghan civilians this year.

BEV SCHILLING/STARS AND STRIPES

By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 22, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan — An airstrike in eastern Afghanistan has killed at least nine civilians, including children, Afghan officials said Monday.

Several more civilians were wounded in the airstrike, which targeted suspected Taliban in the Baraki Barak district of Logar province early Monday, police spokesman Shahpur Ahmadzai said from the provincial capital of Pul-e-Alum, which borders the district.

The airstrike was conducted by Afghan forces against a Taliban target and the government is investigating reports of civilian casualties, Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said during a phone call Monday.

The Afghan ministry said it would release a statement at a later time.

News of the deaths comes amid near-daily reports of noncombatant casualties in Afghanistan’s conflict, as American and Taliban officials continue negotiations aimed at ending the war.

“No government authority could give us a reason for this massacre,” said Huma Ahmadi, a member of parliament from Logar. “Pro-government forces need to stop killing innocent people. There have been several recent cases. There seems to be no coordination between security forces in the air and on the ground.”

All nine civilians killed in Monday’s airstrike were from the same family and six of them were children, Ahmadi said.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.

wellman.phillip@stripes.com
Twitter: @pwwellman

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