Led airstrike kills 16 civilians in eastern Afghanistan

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Afghan men, who say their relatives were killed when a USA -led airstrike killed at least 16 civilians in Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province where Islamic State militants are active, pray on Friday.

The incident took place Thursday evening in the Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province. "On Thursday afternoon, the American forces bombarded a civilian private vehicle... when they were travelling inside the district", he told AFP.

"On Thursday afternoon, the US forces bombarded a civilian private vehicle. when they were travelling inside the district", Saaz Wali Shinwari, the district governor of Haska Mina in Nangarhar province, told AFP.

"Unfortunately, in the airstrike we have casualties".

Meantime, Governor of Dawlatabad district Abdul Salam Nazhat has confirmed the gruesome event but said nine civilians including women and children had lost their lives and five more sustained injuries.

"The victims were beyond recognition, and they were placed inside the sacks and were buried late last night", Wali added.

The armed conflict in Afghanistan has killed more than 1,700 civilians and wounded many more since the beginning of 2017, according to United Nations documentation of civilian casualties.

He also ruled out the possibility of any collateral damage, saying the strike was conducted in the middle of open terrain and there was "zero chance" of civilian casualties.

He said the security forces were establishing a check-post in Jumjumah Qala area, but the Taliban tried to prevent them. Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial governor, said an unknown number of civilians had died but was unable to say who carried out the strike. The strike led to allegations of civilian casualties.

In June, at least three Afghan border police officers were killed in United States airstrikes in Helmand province.

Every so often، USA air raids kill both Afghan soldiers and civilians across the country. Back in February، American airstrikes also killed 22 civilians in the same province.

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