Lawmaker says air strikes kill 21 civilians
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.