US Military Denies Air Strike In Nangarhar Killed Afghan Civilians

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Afghan officials today confirmed that USA airstrikes targeted and killed at least 16 civilians, mostly women, and children, in the eastern Nangarhar Province, targeting the civilians as they tried to flee out of an ISIS-held district where heavy fighting has been ongoing.

Khogyani said the identity of the dead persons could not be ascertained yet.

Of the roughly 13,000 foreign forces in Afghanistan only the United States carries out airstrikes. It was the second time since July 24 that an airstrike in that district killed civilians, according to Afghan officials.

The Pentagon, for its part, confirmed the attack, but insisted that everyone killed was an "extremist fighter", and that they believed the people piling their meager possessions into the vehicles were actually "loading weapons".

Mohammada Khan, 42, a truck driver, said in a telephone interview that he had lost six members of his family in the airstrike, which hit a minibus in which they were fleeing."There were no ISIS members in the area", he said.

Civilian deaths are at an all-time high in Afghanistan. USA officials have said that Trump's doubts about the war has led to a delay in completing a new strategy in the war-torn country.

Taliban insurgents also are active in the Afghan province. Local officials said Taliban insurgents and Islamic State loyalists jointly carried out the bloodshed.

However the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said a preliminary investigation suggested that the two groups, which are normally bitter rivals, acted together.

But the Taliban denied involvement, saying official claims implicating the group were "baseless propaganda" against it.

The attack on Mirza Olang has highlighted the dire security situation in many provincial areas of Afghanistan, where the government controls no more than 60 percent of territory and where armed militant groups operate freely in many areas.

The United States now has about 8,400 soldiers in Afghanistan with another 5,000 troops from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

The massacre of about 50 men, women and children this week took place in the Sayad district.

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