The victims are all from a single family, including women and children – Ministry of Defense assures to probe reports on civilian casualties
KABUL: At least 11 civilians, including women and children, were killed in an airstrike conducted in Arghandab district of southern Kandahar province, residents said on Sunday.
The inhabitants say 11 people, including seven children, two women, and two men were killed in the airstrike targeted Shinkai village of Arghandab district on Saturday night.
The strike carried out by Afghan Air Forces and the Ministry of Defense said it has begun investigation into the reports of the civilian casualties.
Local officials in Arghandab said that the airstrike was conducted after some Taliban fighters gathered at a guesthouse belonging to one of the residences in the village.
The relatives of the victims, who were carrying the corpses, had attempted to approach the provincial governor office but the security forces didn’t allow them.
The provincial authorities did not comment on the incident yet.
But the Ministry of Defense in statement said that it has appointed a joint delegation to investigate the incident. The delegation is composed of 205 Attal Corps, provincial police and district administrative officials.
Earlier, Costs of War, a human rights watchdog based in Rhode Island, said in a report that the Afghan war parties escalated violence to gain leverage in the peace negotiations. “The data demonstrates that, compared to the previous 10 years, there was a 95 percent increase in civilians killed by U.S. and allied forces’ airstrikes between 2017 and 2019,” the report said.
It also said that after the US decided to relax its rules of engagement for airstrikes in Afghanistan, the number of the Afghan civilian casualties increased by 330 percent from 2016 to 2019.
The report said that the casualties were dropped after the US signed a preliminary peace deal in the absence of Afghan government on February 29th in Qatari capital, Doha.
As the US Forces have significantly reduced its airstrikes in support to the Afghan forces on the ground, the reports said that “the Afghan Air Force is harming more Afghan civilians than at any time in its history.”