News ID: 264694
Published: 1112 GMT January 22, 2020

US airstrike killed 15 civilians in Herat: Afghan officials

US airstrike killed 15 civilians in Herat: Afghan officials

A drone attack carried out by American forces earlier this month in western Afghanistan that apparently targeted a splinter Taliban group also killed at least 15 civilians including three women and three children, an Afghan rights official and a council member said.

The incident was “a clear violation of human rights,” Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission said as reported by

“The commission has repeatedly called on domestic and foreign forces to be more careful in conducting military operations so that civilians are not harmed,” the group said.

According to the Afghan official, who is on the country's Human Rights commission, the strike took place in western Herat Province, in the district of Shindanad. Five other civilians, including two children, were wounded, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

A spokesman for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan confirmed an American aircraft conducted the strike but said further questions should be directed to the Afghan Defense Ministry.

There was no immediate comment from the Afghan military forces. But Wakil Ahmad Karokhi, a provincial council member in Herat, said the Jan. 8 strike also killed the commander of a Taliban splinter group, known as Mullah Nangyalia, along with 15 other members, AP reported.

The commander’s funeral the following day was held in the Herat provincial capital’s Guzargah neighborhood, and was attended by dozens of Taliban members.

Karokhi criticized the strike as “huge mistake”, saying the commander had been a useful buffer against the Taliban in Shindand district, taking up arms with his fighters against the insurgents “when no one else would do it" and leaving the area's civilians in peace.

The Taliban continue to stage major attacks against Afghan forces and people while they were engaged in the dialogue with the United States to negotiate an end to the 18-year-long war that the US-led coalition launched in 2001 under the guise of the war on terror.

The Taliban today control nearly half of the country. They hold talks with Washington and have given a US peace envoy a document outlining their offer for a temporary cease-fire in Afghanistan.

More than 32,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict, according to the United Nations.

In December, 2019, lawyers representing victims of the Afghanistan conflict urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to allow a war crimes investigation that would include scrutinizing the actions of US forces.

The ICC opened a three-day hearing on December 4 at which prosecutors and victims aim to overturn a decision scrapping the proposed investigation into alleged crimes in Afghanistan's brutal conflict.

About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are now in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Currently, as many as 13,000 US troops remain stationed in Afghanistan.



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