UN says 12 civilians killed in Afghan airstrike

Kabul:The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said on Wednesday that 12 civilians, including 10 minors, were killed in an airstrike in the central province of Maidan Wardak but the Afghan government dismissed the claim.

The airstrike was conducted by pro-government forces in Jaghatu district on Sunday and according to UNAMA it killed 12 people from the same family, mostly women and children, aged between six and 15, reports Efe.

“Preliminary findings from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan indicate that 12 civilians were killed,” the Mission said in a statement.

The statement comes after the Mission had expressed concerns over a growing number of civilian casualties in airstrikes in the country.

The UN mission is reviewing reports of civilian deaths on the ground “from a number of alleged airstrikes in other parts of the country”, said the statement.

However, a provincial government spokesperson, Rahim Mangal, denied the claims. “During the operation no civilian casualties occurred,” Mangal told EFE.

“The claims made on social media regarding civilian casualties are false and are the work of anti-government elements to create distance between the people and the government,” he added.

Mangal maintained that in the operation by the security forces 42 Taliban militants were killed and another 30 were wounded.

A record number of 1,692 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018, mostly due to improvised explosive devices, according to latest data by UNAMA.