UN promised probes in casualty claims from US strikes in Afghanistan
The UN’s Afghanistan mission said Monday it was probing allegations of civilian casualties resulting from US air strikes against purported drug-making facilities in western Afghanistan. The allegations center on strikes conducted earlier this month in Farah and Nimroz provinces, where dozens of structures said to have been used to produce heroin and other illegal drugs were destroyed. According to interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi, “150 Taliban terrorists were killed, 40 wounded” in the Farah operations. But the Taliban have denied the facilities were used for drugs and claimed “up to 100” civilians were killed. In a statement, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it was “actively looking into allegations of civilian casualties resulting from International Military Forces’ aerial operations in Farah and Nimroz provinces against reported drug manufacturing facilities”. “The locations are not easily accessible and there are numerous operational challenges to the verification” of civilians being harmed, UNAMA added. The US-led NATO mission in Kabul did not immediately respond to a request for comment (AFP).
Four civilian dead and 20 wounded as blasts rock eastern city of Jalalabad
There have been a series of explosions in the eastern city of Jalalabad. A spokesman for the provincial governor said at least 4 civilians had been killed in the back to back 4 blasts which went off in Talashi square in the city center. Around twenty people were wounded. No group has yet claimed responsibility. There has been an increase in violence in Afghanistan in this, the first week of Ramadan – despite government calls for a ceasefire. Nangarhar has become the main stronghold in Afghanistan of Islamic State, which has grown into one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous militant groups since it appeared around the beginning of 2015. Fighting between the Taliban and Islamic State fighters and between the Taliban and Afghan forces has intensified in recent weeks amid peace talks.
- Former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said that the Taliban might retake control of Afghanistan if American troops leave Afghanistan without an intra-Afghan peace settlement. Al-Qaeda has released video clips saying that the Taliban are their supporters and they fight in Afghanistan under the flag of the Taliban. Acting Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi says Afghan security forces have the ability to defend their country.
- Some analysts say it is possible that Afghanistan would no longer be a priority for the international community, adding that disagreements among Afghan politicians and rulers could be the reason behind it. This comes following reports that the US president will spend part of the money allocated for the Afghan forces on building a wall between the USA and Mexico.
- Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) has said that there was a disparity in the allocation of funds in the development budget of Afghanistan faces. It expressed concern over of widespread corruption in the Afghan government bodies.