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‘Civilian deaths only outcome of Haska Mena operation’

12 Aug 2017 - 23:52
12 Aug 2017 - 23:52

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The district chief and residents of Haska Mena district of eastern Nangarhar province on Saturday claimed the ongoing operation in their areas involving Afghan and foreign forces had so far no outcome except ‘civilian casualties.’

They said the operations were ongoing without coordination with local administration and residents and instead of driving militants from the district, the operation had resulted in fall of more areas to the rebels.

On Thursday, the Haska Mena district chief, Saz Wali Shinwari, said sixteen civilians were killed in two airstrikes by foreign forces in the district.

The alleged civilian deaths come two weeks after participants of a prayer and meal service were hit in an airstrike.

However, the US forces in a statement denied civilians had been killed in the Haska Mena district. The forces said Daesh militants loading weapons into a vehicle were targeted an in airstrike and there was no chance of civilian casualties in the strike.

In a fresh chat with Pajhwok, Haska Mena district chief Saz Wali Shinwari said forces involved in the ongoing operation had no coordination with him.

He said the joint forces used to enter areas they had no familiarity with and thus suffered casualties and had to retreat.

He said the joint forces used to call in air support and conducted airstrikes without any coordination with his administration or seeking support of the local population.

In a reference to Thursday’s airstrike, the district chief said: “The victims were fleeing Daesh in their area in a vehicle and there were others on foot, when a foreign forces jet drops bombs on them.”

The district chief said he attempted to evacuate the dead and wounded in the airstrike but he was not allowed by the security forces.

Meanwhile, local residents also said only civilians were targeted in the operation. Tribal elder Malak Mohammad Omar, said the security forces had launched the operation 15 days ago on their own.

He said the operation was still underway in the district while neither the local administration nor residents had been taken into confidence about it. “That is why the operation has been a failure instead of a success.”

“They conduct raids on their own. They evict people from their homes but cannot keep the area and then Daesh comes and capture these areas. Then neither the residents nor the security forces can go to the vacated areas.”

The residents asked the government to investigate Thursday’s airstrikes by foreign forces through delegations from the central and provincial governments.

Nangarhar governor Gulab Mangal told a youth gathering in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, on Saturday that he had sent a delegation to Haska Mena to investigate the airstrikes.

The governor said casualties and mistakes were part of the war but they would seek forgiveness from the bereaved families if such an incident had happened in real.

Pajhwok also met with the provincial government’s delegation tasked with investigating Thursday’s airstrikes in Haska Mena district, but the team members refused to talk.


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