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Conflicting allegations over civilian casualties in Logar

AT News Report

KABUL: Residents and officials in Logar province offer contradicting allegations over civilian casualties in army airstrikes took place Monday night in the Zarghoon Shahr village of Mohammad Agha district.

Residents of the village claim that 24 people were killed and 20 others injured.

They said Tuesday that a mosque was targeted by the army’s warplanes in the Kamal village of Pol-e-Alam city, provincial capital, while security forces opened fire at civilians, wounding them.

“It was 06:00pm on Monday and we were walking out of the mosque after prayers that we came under bombardments,” said Rahimullah, a resident of Kamal village who had helped the injured rush to the hospital. “A large number of civilians were killed, and boys, girls, elderly, farmers and teachers were among them.”

“Yesterday afternoon, security forces shot civilians in Zarghoon Shahr village, injuring 10, who are hospitalized in the Emergency health facility, but two of them lost their lives,” Mohammad Hashem, a resident of Zarghoon Shahr said.

“We can neither go to our farmlands, nor irrigate them. I ask them (security forces) to let us evacuate or they leave our village,” Atta Mohammad, another resident of Zarghoon Shahr said.

Earlier, defense ministry had said of the increase of offensives against Taliban and other armed groups, claiming tens of insurgents killed every day.

But, the increasing civilian casualty is a matter of concern. A number of civilians were killed last week in the provinces of Baghlan and Wardak. Residents of Baghlan blocked the Kabul-Balkh highway in protest.

But the Logar incident was much bigger, with provincial governor, Anwar Eshaqzai saying an investigation was underway.

“A delegation was dispatched to identify the dead people and if they were civilians. However, security officials say most of them were Taliban fighters. We will take checkpoints harassing people farther from them in Zarghoon Shahr, but will never leave the village at all.”

Both the government and Taliban have assured of taking care of civilian lives, while the independent human rights commission expresses concern over civilian death and injuries.

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