Airstrike kills 16 civilians in Southern Afghanistan

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An airstrike in Afghanistan’s Southern Helmand Province on Thursday left at least 16 civilians dead, Local Officials said.

At least three civilians were also injured in the incident that took place in the district of Sangin, the head of the provincial council, Attaullah Afghan, told dpa.

He said the strike hit a civilian house and destroyed it while adding that it was not clear whether U.S. or Afghan forces conducted the airstrike.

Provincial council member Abdul Majid Akhundzada also confirmed the incident and the number of casualties.

Sangin is largely controlled by the Taliban.

It is one of the districts in the largely Taliban-controlled province where British and American troops fought hard to keep the insurgents at bay.

U.S. and Afghan forces have increased their airstrikes since 2018.

Based on statistics provided by the U.S. military, close to 6,000 “weapons’’ meaning bombs and rockets were deployed in Afghanistan between January and the end of October 2018.

A total of 4,361 “weapons’’ were dropped throughout the country during the whole of 2017.

Experts believed the U.S. and Afghan forces recently started targeting specific Taliban field commanders that opposed to a possible peaceful settlement in the conflict.

However, the strikes often do not hit their intended targets, with high civilian casualties reported.

Meanwhile, Taliban and U.S. representatives continued a third day of meetings for preparatory talks on peace negotiations in Doha to bring the continuous Afghan war to an end.

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