New blunder during an airstrike in Afghanistan

The tension had been simmering for several months. After another murderous blunder, Saturday, January 9, during a strike by the Afghan air force against civilian populations in the south of the country, the authorities in Kabul had to give in to international pressure on Monday and announce the opening of an official investigation into the death of a family of eighteen. According to the UN political mission in Afghanistan (Unama), which on Monday urged the Afghan government to launch investigations, nearly 300 civilians were killed, and an equivalent number wounded, in 2020, due to the strikes alone. Afghan planes, an increase of 70% over previous years.

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Confronted with increasing activity of the Taliban insurgency in the province of Nimroz, bordering Iran and Balochistan, the Afghan air force would have, according to the first elements, carried out, on Saturday evening, two strikes in Khashrod district. The Ministry of Defense ensures that “Six Taliban fighters were killed” in the first strike. A second shot, on the other hand, would have destroyed a house, killing eighteen members of the same family, among whom were mainly women and children. The number of injured was not communicated by local authorities.

“Unacceptable” victims

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Monday “Deeply saddened” by these events and offered its condolences on behalf of the government. He called for a careful investigation while blaming the Taliban for this tragedy, accusing them of regularly taking shelter in “The houses of the inhabitants to protect themselves”. Those around him were told that government forces were targeting the hideout of a Taliban commander, but that they had no information about the presence of civilians in the targeted buildings.

The incident came just two days after another blunder in neighboring Helmand province, a territory with a strong Taliban settlement. At least five civilians from the same family, including children, were also killed in an Afghan airstrike on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. Five other people were injured in the attack. This time around, the authorities declined to comment. In December, in an attack that was also deadly on civilians in Takhar, a northern province, the government even obtained the resignation of a representative of the local governor for having publicly apologized and thereby recognized the responsibility of the Afghan forces. .

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