Thirteen civilians have been killed in airstrikes in the Herat province of Afghanistan, the regional governor’s spokesman has confirmed.
The air raids, which were conducted by the Afghan Air Force, struck targets in the Shindand district of Herat Province Monday night.
“A big base of the Taliban was targeted by an airstrike. At least 20 Taliban were killed and wounded, and also 13 civilians were killed in the incident, while 19 people who were prisoners of the Taliban were freed,” Jilani Farhad, spokesman for the Herat governor’s office, told RT’s Ruptly agency Tuesday.
Survivors of the air strikes, which included men, women and children, have been taken to a nearby hospital. Those who were able to stand and talk spoke to Ruptly outside the hospital.
“They bombarded the people. They killed 20 to 25 people. They have to investigate it,” said one man, adding that “half of them were youths and half of them were women who were killed in this attack.”
According to a recent UN report, the level of civilian casualties in Afghanistan reached a record high in 2017, with 436 children killed in the first six months of the year, representing a 9 percent increase on the same time period in 2016. The number of women killed has risen to 174, representing a rise of 23 percent.
An estimated 40 percent of deaths came at the hands of Taliban bombings and IEDs, while airstrikes from both the US and Afghan Air Force were responsible for a 43 percent rise in civilian casualties.
The Pentagon recently announced it has awarded a contract worth over $727 million in support of the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing unit as part of US President Donald Trump’s U-turn on Afghanistan, in which he abandoned his previous position of disengagement. Trump announced a new surge against the Taliban, promising to “expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan.”
Since 2001, the US occupation in Afghanistan has already claimed some 2,400 American lives, not to mention over 173,000 civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan according to the Costs of War Project run by Brown University’s Watson Institute. After almost 16 years of warfare, there seems to be no end in sight to the bloodshed in Afghanistan.