US Airstrikes Kill 16 Civilians in Afghanistan

An Afghan policeman keeps watch while men gather at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in Surkhrod district of Nangarhar province Afghanistan

Afghan men, who say their relatives were killed when a USA -led airstrike killed at least 16 civilians in Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province where Islamic State militants are active, pray on Friday. Saaz Wali Shinwari, the district governor of Haska Mina in Nangarhar province, said the raid was carried out by U.S. troops although there was no official confirmation from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The Office of the former President in a statement said the former President expresses his grief and concerns regarding the civilian deaths including women and children in a foreign airstrike in Haska Mina district.

Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial governor, previously said that an unknown number of casualties had occurred in the area, but later confirmed that at least 16 civilians were killed.

"The militants were observed loading weapons into a vehicle and were under surveillance until the vehicle was destroyed by an airstrike", said Bob Purtiman, a spokesman.

The New York Times reported earlier Friday that Afghan officials said US aircraft killed 16 civilians as they tried to flee the area.

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"This was the second false claim of civilian casualties in the same district in the last three weeks", Purtiman added. "On Thursday afternoon, the American forces bombarded a civilian private vehicle... when they were travelling inside the district", he told AFP.

Taliban insurgents also are active in the Afghan province.

Every so often، U.S. air raids kill both Afghan soldiers and civilians across the country. Women and children were among the victims. Back in February, American airstrikes also killed 22 civilians in the same province. Local officials said Taliban insurgents and Islamic State loyalists jointly carried out the bloodshed.

"We are deeply concerned by the harrowing reports of civilians being killed and atrocities being committed", UNAMA chief Tadamichi Yamamoto said.

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