The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Sunday called for a thorough investigation into claims of civilian casualties resulting from a government-back operation in Khost province.
The commission said that it too will probe the incident and the reports of civilian casualties.
Videos circulating on social media show that apparently women and children were among those killed in the operation in Sabri district in Khost province, 230 kilometers south of Kabul.
“A team is assigned by the government, but the outcome of the probe is not shared with the people. We don’t know what happens to the perpetrators--or why such incidents occurred,” said the chairperson of the commission, Shahrzad Akbar.
Residents of the province claimed that the operation was conducted by pro-government forces called “Campaign Forces,” which are dependent on the National Directorate of Security.
One resident of the province, who was carrying the body of his child, said "many members" of his family had been killed in the operation, including women and children.
“One couple has been wounded. The mother of this child was martyred, and another person was wounded,” the resident said, who claimed that no Taliban were killed in the operation.
Official sources have not commented on an exact figure of civilian casualties in the operation, but some residents of the province claimed that at least 20 civilians were killed.
“The civilian casualties in Khost are a sad occurrence,” said Hashim Alokozay, head of the defense committee of the Afghan Senate.
“Such incidents will provoke gatherings and protests by the people that could not be controlled by the government,” said Juma-ud-Din Giyanwal, a senator.
Khost governor Mohmad Katawazai said the operation was conducted by Afghan forces in Sabrai district after Taliban infiltrated the district and closed the route that connects Maidan Wardak with Khost province.
He said the operation is against the Taliban, and is ongoing.
“To those who say that a woman and a child were killed: They were killed after a Taliban member wanted to transport a bomb and it exploded at the house and resulted in the casualties,” he said.
He also denied the claims made about the video circulating on social media.
The Taliban in a statement claimed that government forces conducted an operation in different places in Sabrai district and attacked many houses from both the air and on the ground. A market called Maktab was targeted, the Taliban said, where a large number of civilians were killed.