More civilians killed in Afghan government air raid

Deserted and abandoned city in Afghanistan Deserted and abandoned city in Afghanistan Photo by Cineuno on iStock

10 January 2021

A government air raid targeting Taliban members reportedly killed several civilians, according to local officials and witnesses.

On Sunday, 9 January 2021, a government air raid in Khashrod district of Afghanistan reportedly killed several civilians, including women and children. The air raid targeted a residence where Taliban insurgents were suspected to be residing. In the aftermath of the attack, witnesses and relatives of the victims reported up to 18 casualties, while a Taliban spokesperson claimed no Taliban deaths.

Government officials confirmed that the air strike was an attempt by Afghan security forces to target Taliban members in a residential area of Khashrod. Despite the claims, a Taliban spokesperson suggested that no Taliban members were located in the area and that there were no Taliban casualties. At the same time, witnesses claimed that all casualties were members of a single family. Specifically, a relative of the victims claimed that his family was “martyred” and “found in pieces” while other witnesses reported having woken  up to their houses in ruins and to members of their family missing or dead. The attack came days before Taliban and Afghan officials were set to meet in Doha to resume peace negotiations, almost 20 years after the conflict began. In 2020 at least 2,117 civilians were killed and 3,822 more were injured because of the ongoing conflict, according to the United Nations  Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Government officials confirmed the air strike but denied the death of any civilians and suggested that all deaths were of Taliban fighters. Despite these claims, Governor Zamarily Ahadi said that a special team would be tasked to investigate the incident and any possible civilian deaths. Furthermore, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) condemned the attack and warned that war is not a solution and conflict will only result in more casualties.


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Author: Christina Michael; Editor: Andrew Goodell


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