At least 17 civilians were allegedly killed during an Afghan national security forces operation on Tuesday night in Rodat district of eastern Nangarhar province, residents claimed Wednesday.
The residents said that seven members of one family including children were among the victims.
The operation was conducted in Shahidano Mena in Rodat district.
In protest against the incident, families of the victims laid the bodies of the deceased out on cushions, under a tent, next to the Jalalabad-Torkham highway. They also called on government to conduct a thorough investigation.
“It was 12am at midnight when I heard small firing and then the sound of heavy firing. I heard voices which said do not shoot us we will come out, but despite that they were targeted,” Rana Gul a relative of the victims said.
“One of my sons was working at a pharmacy, another was a student, there are children, all dead. Who should we ask?” asked Wahidullah, a relative of victims.
The residents claim that all the victims were civilians and that a number of them were children.
“This is bad for us and for our government. The spy who reported this area as a threat should be found and should be executed so that people are convinced, we are convinced, and such incidents are not repeated in the future,” said Mawlavi Jalalabadi a religious scholar.
“Five people and a woman as well as two guests were targeted in one house while four children, one woman, one elderly man and two young men were targeted in another house,” said Barakallah a resident. However other residents put the death toll at 17.
Meanwhile, Nangarhar local officials confirmed there had been an operation against insurgents in the area but said they will investigate claims of civilian casualties.
“Last night, a military operation was carried out by the National Directorate of Security’s Special Unit in Shaheed Mina area in Rodat district. A delegation has been sent to the area to thoroughly investigate the incident and then the details will be shared after the probe is completed,” said Attullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman.
Earlier this month the United Nations reported that in the first nine months of 2018 at least 8,050 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded across the country.
In a statement, Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of UNAMA in Afghanistan said: “As there can be no military solution to the fighting in Afghanistan, the United Nations renews its call for an immediate and peaceful settlement to the conflict.”