NATO airstrike kill Afghan civilians in Wardak province
By Sadaf Shinwari - Sun Jan 13 2013, 12:11 pm
Local residents and eye witnesses in the area are saying at least 12 to 15 people including Afghan civilians have been killed following the airstrike.
They said the airstrike started around 5 am local time and continued for several hours.
Maidan Wardak province is among the relatively unsafe area in central Afghanistan where Taliban militants and insurgents from the other groups including Haqqani Network are openly operating in its various districts.
Provincial governor spokesman Shahidullah Shahid confirmed the report however he did not comment regarding civilians casualties.
He said the airstrike was carried out to clear Syedabad district from militants presence. “Last night Taliban militants carried out attack on Hassan Khel village and escaped from the area after killing several peope”, Shahid said.
Local residents said that the airstrike was carried out while local villagers were collecting the dead bodies of the victims, killing at least 12 people including an Afghan woman.
Another local resident in Syedabad district said the families have taken the dead bodies of the civilians to the center Maidan Wardak province and will possibly start portests against the killings.
Meanwhile reports suggest at least 7 civilians were killed following an explosion in a mosque while Afghan and coalition security forces were transporting a detained militant.
The militants were reportedly using the mosque to attack Afghan and coalition security forces.
In the meantime NATO-led International Security Assistance Force following a statement announced, “There was a ground operation in Sayyidabad district, Wordack province today. During the operation, an Afghan and coalition security force killed four armed insurgents who attacked them. After the engagement, the security force discovered a cache of weapons and explosives and destroyed it on site before withdrawing from the area.”
The source further added, “ISAF is aware of reports that indicate there may have been civilians killed. We take all allegations of civilian casualties seriously. ISAF and Afghan officials are assessing the situation to determine the facts. As more information becomes available we will release it as appropriate. We do not have any operational reporting that indicates the type of compound used by the insurgents. We are aware of reports that claim there was a mosque and ISAF and Afghan officials are assessing the situation to determine the facts. As those facts become available we will release them as appropriate. The combined operation did not involve an airstrike!”