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12 civilians killed in Wardak airstrike; UN says

AT-KABUL: Twelve civilians were killed on Sunday in an airstrike in Maidan Wardak province during operations conducted by pro-government forces in the area, according to preliminary findings by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

UN mission said all of the victims were women and children from the same family whose house in the village of Mullah Hafez, Jaghato district, Maidan Wardak, was destroyed by aerial ordnance late on 23 September. Ten of those killed were children whose ages ranged from 6 to 15. Eight were girls.

UNAMA is currently reviewing reports of civilian casualties from a number of alleged airstrikes in other parts of the country. UNAMA continues to work to verify whether Afghan or international military forces were responsible for the civilian casualties from recent strikes.

As part of its Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict mandate given to it by the UN Security Council, the Mission will continue its independent enquiries to establish additional facts around the latest incidents, sharing the findings with parties as part of advocacy efforts for improved mitigation measures in their future operations to prevent civilian casualties.

UNAMA notes its strong concern with the rising numbers of civilian deaths and injuries caused by aerial operations and urges all parties to take additional measures to prevent harm to the civilian population. Approximately seven per cent of all civilian casualties in the Afghan conflict in the first half of 2018 were attributed to air operations. UNAMA recorded a 52 per cent increase in civilian casualties – 353 (149 deaths and 204 injured) – from aerial attacks compared to the same period in 2017.

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