40 at a wed­ding party killed in Af’s anti-Tal­iban raid

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global -

Kabul: At least 40 civil­ians at a wed­ding party were killed on Sun­day night dur­ing a raid con­ducted by Afghan spe­cial forces and sup­ported by US airstrikes on Tal­iban hide­outs in the south­ern Hel­mand prov­ince, Afghan of­fi­cials said. The vi­o­lence has fur­ther rat­tled Afghanista­n which is fac­ing an up­surge in vi­o­lence af­ter US-Tal­iban peace talks to end Amer­ica’s long­est war col­lapsed ear­lier this month.

Ab­dul Ma­jed Akhund, deputy pro­vin­cial coun­cil­man, said that the ma­jor­ity of the dead are women and chil­dren who were at a wed­ding cer­e­mony that was tak­ing place in Musa Qala district.

Akhund said that 12 other civil­ians were wounded and are in the hos­pi­tal in Lashkar Gah the cap­i­tal of the prov­ince. There were con­flict­ing re­ports on the num­bers of killed and wounded from dif­fer­ent sources as the area is un­der Tal­iban con­trol.

At­tahul­lah Afghan, head of the pro­vin­cial coun­cil, said there were two sep­a­rate raids in dif­fer­ent ar­eas of Musa Qala. The first op­er­a­tion killed six for­eign fight­ers, while the sec­ond raid “mis­tak­enly” hit civil­ians, he said. Akhund said au­thor­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports civil­ians at­tend­ing a wed­ding died in the raid.

Afghanista­n’s de­fence min­istry said that as a re­sult of the op­er­a­tions in Musa Qala district, 22 for­eign mem­bers of the Tal­iban were killed and 14 ar­rested. The ar­rested ter­ror­ists in­clude five Pak­istani na­tion­als and one Bangladesh­i. “The for­eign ter­ror­ist group was ac­tively en­gaged in or­gan­is­ing ter­ror­ist at­tacks,” said the state­ment and added that a ware­house of the ter­ror­ists’ sup­plies and equip­ment was also de­stroyed.

Omar Zwak, the pro­vin­cial gov­er­nor’s spokesman, said 14 in­sur­gents, in­clud­ing six for­eign­ers were killed dur­ing the raid. They were in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties. The deadly strike came af­ter a drone at­tack last week in east­ern Afghanista­n’s Nan­garhar prov­ince blamed on US forces killed at least 16 and wounded tens of others, most of them civil­ians. US forces said that at­tack was tar­get­ing Is­lamic State (IS) mil­i­tants.

AFP

Vil­lagers with the body of one of the vic­tims in Lashkar Gah of Hel­mand prov­ince on Mon­day

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