Airstrikes conducted by the US military has killed at least 30 civilians, including children and women, in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand amid a spike in civilian deaths from aerial attacks.
The US-led NATO force in Afghanistan said on Wednesday that American advisers and Afghan government forces called in an airstrike as they came under fire from Taliban militants in a compound in Garmsir district.
“At the time of the strike, the ground force was unaware of any civilians in or around the compound; they only knew that the Taliban was using the building as a fighting position,” a force spokeswoman said in a statement.
“We investigate every credible allegation of error and review every mission to learn, adapt and improve,” she added.
Helmand provincial governor Mohammad Yasin Khan also said forces had called in air raids against Taliban militants in the district, adding that civilians and Taliban militants were among the casualties caused by the aerial attack.
Meanwhile, Feda Mohammad, a resident of the area, said all of the victims of the Tuesday airstrike were civilians, adding that some people were still buried in the rubble of the compound.
“The area is under the control of [the] Taliban but all of the victims of last night’s bombing are civilians,” he said.
Mohammadullah, another resident, said the fighting began late on Tuesday.
“Foreign forces bombed the area and the bombs hit my brother’s house,” he said, adding women and 16 children were among the victims.