Eight civilians killed in Afghan strike on freed Taleban fighter

HERAT, AFGHANISTAN (AFP) – Eight civilians were killed when an Afghan air strike hit a group of people who had gathered to celebrate a Taleban commander’s recent release from prison, officials said yesterday.

The strike in the western province of Herat on Wednesday drew condemnation from a top United States (US) diplomat and underscores the worsening violence in Afghanistan’s war even as the Taleban and Kabul are supposed to be preparing for peace talks.

According to District Governor in the area Ali Ahmad Faqir Yar, the strike took place, a group of people had gathered to welcome the Taleban commander.

“An air strike was carried out during the ceremony and civilians who participated were among those killed,” he told AFP, putting the toll at eight civilian dead and 16 wounded.

On their website, the Taleban said the insurgent had been released from Bagram prison outside Kabul on Tuesday.