An airstrike in the western province of Nimroz on Saturday night left 18 people dead, all members of one family, said Baz Mohammad Nasir, head of the provincial council in the province.
The airstrike took place in Munazari village in Khashrod district, Nasir said, adding that the “Taliban were also targeted but there are no reports on their casualties yet.”
Those who have been killed include eight children, seven women and three men, the council chief said.
Relatives of the victims took the 18 bodies to the city of Zaranj, the center of the province, seeking justice from the government.
Local officials refrained from providing details on the incident, but the ANA 215th Corps in a statement said the reports of civilian casualties in Nimroz will be investigated.
“The Taliban were targeted in an airstrike and suffered heavy casualties,” the statement said.
The army corps said that multiple airstrikes were conducted by Afghan forces on Taliban targets in Khashrod district on Saturday night.
“The airstrike has affected civilians. Many members of one family, including women and children, have been killed. This is sad,” Nasir said.
However, local government officials and security officials have not yet commented on the airstrike.
“Eighteen members of my family were martyred. They were found in pieces. Who among them are the Taliban members? Look at their hands. Are they Taliban? You call yourselves Muslims. This is not something done by a Muslim,” said Saleh Mohammad, a relative of the victims.
“Seven of them are women and others are men and children. One of them was a recently married girl who was there as a guest along with three children who have also been martyred. There was no Talib in the area, neither any Daesh, nor did anyone have ties with al-Qaeda,” said Abdul Shakoor, an eyewitness.
Ahmad, a resident of Khashrod who sustained injuries in the airstrike, said he has lost “18 members of his family in the incident.”
“We were 15 members in our family. I was sleeping and did not notice that our house was attacked. When I woke up, I saw that the wall of our house was damaged and there were bullets around me,” Ahmad said.
The relatives of the victims said those who are behind the incident should be punished.
“We don’t know where to live. The government is bombarding our houses, the Taliban is threatening us. Where should the oppressed residents of Khashrod live? Let us know if there is any place,” said Mohammad Daud, a resident of the area.
“We have 18 killed and two wounded. The two wounded are members of the family who are the only survivors,” said Zainullah Zwak, a resident of Khashrod district.
According to Maiwand 215 Corps, the airstrikes targeted a Taliban customs center on a highway that passes through Khashrod district, causing casualties among the militants.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi said 14 civilians were killed in the airstrike.