Wednesday, September 26, 2018 9:21:56 PM
12 Afghan Killed in New US Airstrike

An air strike conducted by US forces appears to have claimed lives of a dozen members of an Afghan family, most of them children, in the country's east-central province of Maidan Wardak.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, known as UNAMA, said in a statement on Wednesday that Sunday night's air strike destroyed a house in Wardak province near the capital Kabul. The victims included 10 children aged six to 15 and two women.

According to the UNAMA, the latest incident brings to at least 21, including 14 children, the number of civilians killed in airstrikes in recent days.

The findings support earlier comments from provincial council member Ahmad Jahfari, who said that 12 members of a family had been killed in an airstrike targeting Taliban militants.

A villager called Abdullah said that two of his sisters died in the attack that he said claimed the lives of more than 12 civilians.  

"Three other houses were also destroyed," Abdullah said, adding, "They wanted to bomb a Taliban prison about 100 meters (330 feet) from our house."

The UN mission is also reviewing reports of civilian casualties from "a number of alleged airstrikes in other parts of the country", its statement said. That includes "credible reports" that nine members of a family, including four children, were killed in an air strike on Saturday in the eastern province of Kapisa.

Spokesman David Butler earlier confirmed US forces had carried out an air strike in support of Afghan ground troops in Kapisa, but killed "only militants".

US has dramatically increased air offensives across Afghanistan.

UNAMA has expressed its "strong concern" at the rising number of civilian casualties from air strikes this year.

Air strikes killed or wounded 353 civilians in the first half, up 52 percent from the same period in 2017. The figure accounted for roughly seven percent of total civilian casualties for the six-month period.

The most recent US Air Forces Central Command data shows that US forces employed 746 weapons in July, which was the highest monthly total since November 2010.

That is more than double the 350 munitions used in July 2017, a month before US President Donald Trump announced his new strategy for Afghanistan that gave American forces greater leeway to go after militants.

Despite the presence of thousands of foreign boots on the ground, Afghanistan has been rocked by a surge in terrorist attacks, some of them carried out by the Daesh Takfiri terrorists mainly active in Nangarhar Province. The country has already been torn apart by decades of Taliban-led militancy and the 2001 invasion of the US and its allies.

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