Afghanistan: Airstrikes kill 5 civilians in Helmand

21st May 2019
Afghanistan: Airstrikes kill 5 civilians in Helmand

[Archive photo: US bombing in Kunduz wounded many Afghanis being treated in Mazar-e-Sharif Regional Hospital in Balkh, Afghanistan on 4 October 2015. Photographer: Syed Khodaberdi Sadat/AA]

Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA): Airstrikes killed five civilians in Afghanistan’s restive Helmand province, officials and local media confirmed Monday.

Residents of Taliban-held parts of the province staged demonstrations outside a public hospital in provincial capital Lashkargah to protest the deadly air raids.

According to local officials, the strikes left five people dead in Helmand’s Nehr-e-Siraj district and a dozen others injured, including women and children.

Umer Zwak, a spokesman for the provincial governor, confirmed the raids, saying investigations were now underway with a view to assessing civilian casualties.

The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, meanwhile, has yet to comment on the attack, which was the second incident of its kind in Helmand within the last four days.

Last week, at least eight Afghan policemen were killed in a similar air raid carried out by U.S. forces.

According to the Afghan Interior Ministry, last week’s airstrikes also targeted positions in Helmand’s Neher-e-Siraj district.

Since 2014, only U.S. forces have continued to engage in anti-insurgency operations inside Afghanistan. They have also continued to provide air support to Afghan forces operating on the ground.

Helmand, where Taliban militants remain in control of vast swathes of territory, is considered one of the country’s least secure provinces.

Afghan forces, with U.S. air support, recently managed to reclaim considerable territory in Helmand in a fresh round of fighting that left numerous dead and injured on both sides.

 

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