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Compensation for ANA soldiers killed in US strike sought

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: The Active Youth Network for Change and Reformation (AYNCR) on Wednesday slammed the United States for targeting Afghan National Army (ANA) check-post in Logar province and sought compensation for the killed and injured soldiers.

The rights activist group said that issuing merely condolence would not ease pain of the bereaved families and those who were wounded in the attack, but the US authorities should compensate them and make sure such incidents do not take place in future.

The US airstrike at a security checkpoint killed seven ANA soldiers and wounded five others in Baraki Barak district of eastern Logar province on Monday.

Mahmood Ehsani, the Deputy Chairman of the AYNCR, said that after completion of the security transition process and signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), the US troops are not allowed to conduct operations, particularly airstrikes, without coordinating them with Afghan security forces.

Speaking at a press conference, he said that there was no military base of foreign forces in the area, where the US troops have launched airstrike on ANA check-post. He added that the ANA soldiers were fighting against the Taliban militants in the area, when they were targeted by the US airstrike. “Continuation of such acts by the US forces will weaken Afghan forces and will strengthen terrorism in Afghanistan,” he said.

The AYNCR urged the fact finding commission to thoroughly investigate the incident and share their findings with the people of Afghanistan.

“The government, concerned organizations, political parties and people should raise their voices against the incident and should ask the US pay compensation money to families of the killed and wounded soldiers,” Ehsani said.

He warned to organize protest demonstrations, if their demands were not met.

“Expressing condolences cannot ease pain of the bereaved families and those who were wounded in the attack. Thus, besides paying compensation money to the bereaved families and wounded soldiers, the US authorities should also accept their mistake and apologize to people of Afghanistan,” he went on as saying.

It is pertinent mention that the US troops’ night raids and airstrikes frequently lead to killing of Afghan troops and civilians. However, the US authorities usually suffice by expressing condolences and are reluctant to pay compensation to families of the victims.

AYNCR also criticized formation of the Special Electoral Reforms Commission (SERC) and asked the government to review structure of the body in order to bring expected reforms in electoral commissions.

After disputed 2014 presidential elections, leaders of the National Unity Government(NUG)–President Ashraf Ghani and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdulah— pledged to give priority to electoral reforms. However, it took the two leaders 10 months to reach an agreement on formation of the electoral reforms commission. A number of civil society activists and political figures still doubt over capacity of the body, alleging that members of the SERC are biased.

Head of the Media Committee of AYNCR, Homayun Miakhil, welcomed formation of the SERC, but expressed his concerns that the commission is comprised of figures loyal to President Ghani and Abdulah Abdullah.

“The SERC is comprised of the representatives the two leaders and they cannot represent the will of the people of Afghanistan and political movements,” he added.

He said that President Ghani and CEO Abdullah should not be the only two persons to select members of the reforms body, but all political parties should be allowed to play their role in this regard.

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