Afghan official: 13 civilians killed in airstrike on house

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2016,16:58 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kabul | At least 13 civilians were killed in an airstrike that hit a residential building in a volatile district of eastern Nangarhar province early on Wednesday, an Afghan official said.

The US military in Afghanistan said the incident was being investigated.

Esmatullah Shinwari, a Nangarhar lawmaker, told The Associated Press that a crowd had gathered at the house in Achin district, near the Pakistan border, to welcome home a tribal leader returning from the Hajj, an annual Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

At least 12 people were wounded in the strike, including the tribal leader, he said.

Hazrat Hussain Mashreqiwal, the spokesman for the provincial police chief, said that the airstrike had targeted Islamic State group loyalists.

Afghan forces backed by the US military have been battling IS fighters in Achin for months.

The spokesman for the US military in Afghanistan, Brigadier General Charles Cleveland, confirmed a “counter- terrorism air strike in Achin district” early today.

“US forces did conduct one counter-terrorism air strike in Achin district, Nangarhar province, September 28, and for operational security reasons we do not discuss the details of counter-terror operations,” Cleveland said in a statement.

“We are aware of some claims of Afghan casualties,” he said, adding that investigations were underway.