LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): At least 18 Taliban insurgents have been killed and wounded during an airstrike in the Nad Ali district of southern Helmand province, local officials said on Saturday, but the rebels claimed civilians also suffered casualties in the attack.
The governor’s spokesman, Omar Zwak, told Pajhwok that the Afghan forces carried out the airstrike in Loy Bagh area last night, killing and injuring several insurgents including commanders.
A source in Nad Ali district said the airstrike was conducted near Mamor Sultan’s house. He said 16 insurgents were killed including members of Al Qaeda and a vehicle destroyed in the blitz.
Another source said a person named Talib Aka had prepared dinner for Taliban militants when they were attacked from the air thrice. He claimed more than 40 Taliban militants suffered casualties in the airstrike.
US forces in a statement confirmed the airstrike against Taliban fighters conducting offensive operations against Afghan forces in Nad Ali on the night of December 3.
The statement said the strike was conducted in accordance with the US-Taliban agreement. “We are aware of reports of civilian casualties, and we are investigating.”
Taliban also confirmed the airstrike. Their spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said the airstrike in Nad Ali targeted civilians near a Taliban center. He said 18 people, including Taliban fighters and civilians, were killed and a number of others injured.
Ahmadi warned such attacks would have repercussions.
Helmand is Afghanistan’s most insecure province where Taliban have been in complete control of six districts.