Law­maker says air strikes kill 21 civil­ians

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - —AP —Reuters

Kabul: Airstrikes in Afghanistan’s south­ern Hel­mand province have killed 21 civil­ians, in­clud­ing women and chil­dren, a law­maker from the re­gion said Sun­day. Mo­ham­mad Hashim Alkozai said 13 civil­ians were killed in one strike and eight in an­other. Both were car­ried out late Fri­day in the San­gin dis­trict, where heavy fight­ing is un­der­way be­tween Nato-backed Afghan forces and the Tal­iban. Alkozai said at least five other peo­ple were wounded in the airstrikes. “In­no­cent peo­ple, women and chil­dren, are the only vic­tims of the airstrikes,” he said, adding that the mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions have stoked pub­lic anger.

“By this, Ghani is try­ing to change the topic and harm the on-go­ing peace ef­forts.”

Tal­iban ne­go­tia­tors are due to meet US peace en­voy Zal­may Khalilzad for an­other round of talks in Qatar on Feb. 25.

The talks are ex­pected to cen­tre around a cease­fire to end Amer­ica’s long­est war and the with­drawal of for­eign troops.

Some 14,000 US troops are based in Afghanistan as part of a Us-led NATO mis­sion to train, as­sist and ad­vise Afghan forces. Some US forces also carry out counter-ter­ror­ism op­er­a­tions.

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