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At least 40 civilians massacred in Helmand raid

AT News Report

KABUL: At least 40 civilians, attending a wedding ceremony have been killed and 13 other received injures by airstrike and ground operations conducted by Afghan-US forces to targeted foreign terrorists in southern Helmand province on Sunday night, officials said Monday.  

The officials said a house being used by the Taliban to train suicide bombers was located adjacent to the bride’s home, which came under fire during the attack.

Provincial Governor Spokesman, Omar Zwak said Special Forces conducted operation against Taliban and foreign terrorists in Musa Qala district, in which several terrorists were killed and wounded. He confirmed civilian casualties, but did not elaborate further.

However, Minister of Defense said that Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) defeated a group of foreign terrorists in Helmand.

“As a result of ANDSF operations in Musa Qala district, 22 foreign members of Taliban were killed and 14 arrested,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to statement, the arrested terrorists included five Pakistani nationals and one Bangladeshi. The foreign terrorist group was actively engaged in organizing terrorist attacks. During the operation, a large warehouse of the terrorists’ supplies and equipment was also demolished.

However, the Ministry said to assess claims regarding civilian casualties in Musa Qala and shares the findings with media and the people.

However, a military official with Resolute Support has confirmed that two civilians were killed.

“We are able to confirm the foreign fighters were members of al Qaeda. The Taliban claiming civilian casualties doesn’t seem right. Right now we believe there may have been two non-combatants killed. One when a fighter with an SVEST detonated. The other casualty was during an airstrike on building. A barricaded shooter refused to come out after a call out. We are still assessing,” the RS official said.

Nevertheless, Provincial Council Members confirmed the raid and airstrike in Musa Qala district that killed a number of civilians.

Local officials said that in first incident during a ground operation and airstrike carried out against a hideout of the Taliban, where a nearby house was also hit, in which likely all members of the family were killed and injured.

Also in second incident in another area of the district, a wedding convoy was hit by airstrike that caused civilians casualty.

Around 40 civilians “martyred” and 13 others wounded including women and children in the both incidents, Head of Helmand Provincial Council Attaullah Afghan said.

He confirmed the Taliban commander, Abdul Raziq Aling with six Pakistani fighters were killed in the operation as well.

Another member of the provincial council, Abdul Majid Akhundzada, said that in first night raid, which was conducted by Special Forces and supported by airstrike was against a base of Taliban commander, where a house located near to the area was also destroyed and nearly all members of the family were “martyred” and wounded in the incident.

According to him, in another incident several cars of guests of a wedding party came under airstrike attack in another part of the district.

In both incidents around 40 people were killed and 13 others wounded, he mentioned.

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