NATO air raids kill 18 civilians in Afghanistan's Helmand: UN

     NATO air raids kill 18 civilians in Afghanistan's Helmand: UN

    Feb.13, Helmand: Civilians, mostly women and children, were killed last week in air raids by NATO forces in Afghanistan's Helmand province, according to an initial United Nations inquiry. 

    A UN statement released on Sunday said, on Thursday and Friday as many as 18 civilians died in air strikes in Helmand's Sangin district. 

    The UN said the strikes had been conducted by "international military forces," but only US aircraft have been involved in recent coalition strikes, according to US military officials.

    Other US military officials said their aircraft have conducted around 30 air raids in Helmand in the past week. NATO's Resolute Support mission has initiated an inquiry into the incident.

    "We are investigating the allegations and working diligently to determine whether civilians were killed or injured as a result of US air strikes," Brigadier General Charles Cleveland, a US army spokesman in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

    But Afghan officials and local residents have given a different toll of 22 civilians killed during the joint operation carried out by US and Afghan forces.

    The presidential envoy for security in Helmand, Jabar Qahraman, said the raid against Taliban fighters in the Sangin district killed 13 people from one family and nine from another.

    The NATO-led military mission has deployed hundreds of troops to Helmand in a bid to help Afghan security forces in their war against Taliban fighters.

    The Oslo Times International News Network


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