24 Afghan civilians killed in anti-Taleban raid

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — At least 24 civilians were killed yesterday during a raid conducted by Afghan special forces on Taleban hideouts in the southern Helmand province, provincial officials said.

Deputy Provincial Councilman Abdul Majed Akhund said that initial reports showed 24 civilians were killed, but the number “possibly would rise” when a final toll was available.

Head of the Provincial Council Attahullah Afghan said the majority of dead were women and children who were at a wedding ceremony in Musa Qala district.

He added that 12 other people were wounded.

There were conflicting reports on the numbers of killed and wounded from different sources as the area is under Taleban control.

According to Afghan, there were two separate raids in different areas of Musa Qala. The first operation killed six foreign fighters, while the second raid “mistakenly” hit civilians, he said.

Akhund said authorities are investigating reports civilians attending a wedding died in the raid last Sunday night in Musa Qala.

Provincial Governor’s Spokesman Omar Zwak said 14 insurgents including six foreigners were killed during the raid.

They were investigating reports of civilian casualties.

This comes as earlier a drone attack in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province blamed on United States (US) forces killed at least 16 and wounded tens of others, most of them civilians.

The US forces in Afghanistan said they carried out a strike in eastern Nangarhar targetting Islamic State (IS) positions.

The violence has further rattled the country as it prepares for national elections later this month.