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Ghani orders probe into Paktia civilian killings

AT News Report

KABUL: The National Security Council (NSC) on Thursday while confirming the civilian killings during an operation in Zurmat district of southeastern Paktia province said that President Ashraf Ghani has ordered an investigation into the incident.

On the second day of Eid ul Adha, August 12, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) operatives had launched an operation in the province. The agents claimed they killed 11 militants during an overnight raid while local people and the United Nations said those killed were civilians with some of them university students.

A statement from the NSC said that a serious investigation was launched into the incident following an order from the president.

The statement said that besides some Taliban fighters, a number of civilians also suffered casualties during the operation. NDS is ordered to try those military officials who were involved in the operation, the source said. “Those who are found guilty should be arrested immediately and faced with justice.”

This comes as senior Afghan and US officials on Thursday visited Paktia to assess security situation as well as the claims of civilian casualties in the operation.

Acting Defense Minister Assadullah Khalid, Acting Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi, head of the National Directorate of Security Masoom Stanekzai and the US and NATO forces commander in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller held talks with local officials during this trip, a statement from the Paktia governor’s media office said.

Moreover, the United Nations said on Wednesday it was gravely concerned about reports indicating 11 civilians had been killed in an Afghan security force operation in an eastern province near the border with Pakistan. “Accountability essential. Harm to civilians must stop,” the agency said in a post on Twitter.

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