MoD probes claims of civilian casualties in Kandahar airstrike

The Afghan security forces Saturday conducted an airstrike in Arghandab district of southern Kandahar province, aimed at targeting a Taliban gathering in the area.

There are however conflicting reports about casualties resulting from the air raid.

Local residents stated that at least seven members of a family were killed in the airstrike while the Taliban claimed that at least 13 civilians including children were killed in the raid.

The relatives of the family, however, told Ariana News that 11 people – including seven children, two women, and two men – were killed in the airstrike.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement that it would investigate the claims of civilian casualties in the airstrike.

“A joint delegation from the 205 Atal Corps, Kandahar Police Headquarters, and Arghandab local officials is probing the issue,” the statement read.

“Protecting the lives and property of civilians is a top priority for the Defense and Security entities,” the MoD noted.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has strongly condemned an airstrike in Kandahar’s Arghandab district that reportedly killed 7 members of a family, including children, & said it was a crime against humanity.

President Karzai said the only way to save the country from the current crisis is for the intra-Afghan peace talks to be successful.

This comes after heavy clashes, which are still ongoing, in several districts including Zheri, Arghandab, Maiwand, and Shah Walikut in the past month.

Officials stated, so far, 6,500 people have been displaced due to the ongoing clashes between the Afghan forces and the insurgents.

The MoD stated that the Taliban stormed outposts of Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) in Dand, Zheri, Arghandab, Maiwand, and Shah Walikut but faced resistance by Afghan forces.

At least 51 Taliban fighters were killed and nine others wounded in the skirmishes, the MoD added.

The Taliban has not made any comment in this regard.