Flashpoints

US investigating civilian casualties in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is investigating recent claims of civilian casualties, according to a statement released by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

“U.S. Forces-Afghanistan is aware of an incident in the Pul-e ’Alam District in Logar Province this morning with potential civilian casualties,” the statement reads. “An official investigation has been launched.”

According to local Afghan media source Pajhwok, nearly 13 civilians and two Taliban leaders were killed in a U.S. airstrike in Logar Province.

Salim Saleh, the governor’s spokesman, told Pajhwok that shadow governor Mullah Mohammadullah and his deputy Huzaifa were also killed in the airstrike.

Logar has been an area of unrest lately. Nearly two weeks ago, a U.S. service member was wounded in an operation against the Taliban in the restive province.

Moreover, an Afghan defense official has told Military Times that Afghan forces reportedly killed Haqqani network commander Mullah Qand in an operation last night in Logar Province. The Haqqani network is a U.S. designated terrorist group with deep ties to the Taliban.

Military Times was not able to confirm with U.S. officials whether the Haqqani leader was killed or if U.S. forces participated in the operation.

Based on the latest UN assessment, over 5,000 civilians have been killed or wounded in Afghanistan this year.

There are currently over 8,000 U.S. service members serving in the war-torn country. But that number is expected to rise with the White House’s new strategy for South Asia, which includes an unknown increase in U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

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