Government Airstrikes Kill at Least 24 in Afghanistan, Witnesses Say
In Afghanistan on Sunday, relatives of victims and witnesses told the Associated Press that government airstrikes in the northern part of the country killed at least 24 people, including children, and wounded six others.
Two witnesses contacted by the Associated Press news agency said most of those killed in Saturday's airstrikes, which hit the village of Sayed Ramazan in Kunduz province, were civilians.
"This is the shell of the bomb,” said Khan Mohammad, a relative of the victims, indicating spent munitions. “Seven children were at the corner of the house where the bomb was dropped.”
Villagers said the first airstrike targeted a house belonging to a Taliban fighter.
"If you (the government) want to make peace, why you are dropping bombs?” asked Mozafer Khan, a relative of the victims. “Because of one Taliban they have killed 20 (civilian) people."
The airstrikes came as government and Taliban negotiators are meeting for the first time in Qatar to end the decades-long war and conflict in Afghanistan and settle the future of the country.
The Afghan Defense Ministry said the airstrikes killed 30 Taliban fighters and an investigation was underway into allegations that civilians were among those killed.
The village of Sayed Ramazan is in Khanabad district, which is controlled by the Taliban.
A spokesperson for the group condemned the airstrikes and said the Taliban was not conducting any military operations in the area at the time of the airstrikes.
The United Nations has strongly condemned both sides in Afghanistan’s conflict for the killing of civilians.