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Helmand airstrike leaves 30 civilians dead

KABUL: Residents in southern Helmand province claimed on Wednesday that an airstrike by armed forces in Garmsir district has killed 30 civilians on Tuesday evening.

The airstrike was launched on Tuesday morning and residents said all the victims were members of a single family. Only one member of the family, who is a teenager, has survived the airstrike and is under treatment at Helmand central hospital.

A resident said that the airstrike began at 9am when a vehicle belonging to the Taliban was close by. He said that 30 people including women and children were killed and only one teenager survived with severe injuries.

Meanwhile, Helmand governor Mohammad Yasin confirmed the airstrike and said that Taliban as well as civilians have suffered casualties in the operation. He did not give details on exact number of civilian casualties in the airstrike.

He said the Taliban had gathered in the village from other areas and wanted to plan an attack on Garmsir district and our security belts were under threat for the past few days. Then the forces started operation.

The governor said a number of key Taliban members were under surveillance of the Air Force. The airstrike has inflicted casualties on both sides.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, has claimed in a social media post that the foreign forces airstrike in Helmand has killed 23 civilians.

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