Over 60 civilians were killed and wounded alongside 30 members of the Taliban as a result of a drone strike targeting Mullah Nangyalai, a top commander of the Taliban’s splinter faction, said local government officials and members of the Herat provincial council on Thursday.
While officials from the Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) insist that the drone strike was conducted in coordination with the Defense Ministry, local officials in the province called the attack a mistake.
Meanwhile, dozens of members of Taliban’s splinter faction on Thursday attended the funeral ceremony of Mullah Nangyalai in Guzargah neighborhood west of Herat city.
The US drone strike was carried out on Wednesday in Shindand district of Herat.
US forces in Afghanistan have said that the attack was conducted on the request of the Afghan security forces.
“A misunderstanding has happened and you will be provided the details by the end of the day,” said Abdul Qayoum Rahimi, the governor of Herat.
“Sometimes during the operations, mistakes can happen--an investigation has been launched to find out whether such a thing had occurred,” said Gen. Aminullah Amarkhel, the police chief of Herat.
“According to the people, over 60 civilians were killed and wounded in the operation,” said Toryalai Tahiri, deputy head of Herat provincial council.
“Based on the reports we have, the number of casualties is much higher, civilians have been killed and wounded alongside Mullah Nangyalai’s fighters, but the figure of civilian casualties is also high” said Wakil Ahmad Karkhi, a member of the Herat provincial Council.
Eyewitnesses meanwhile said that 30 Taliban fighters and 50 civilians have been killed in the attack.
The Afghan government has said it will investigate reports of civilian casualties.
“37 to 38 members of Commander Nangyalai’s group were martyred, two of my nephews were wounded,” said eye witness Saleh Mohammad.
“The plane was dropping bombs everywhere on the people and it was killing them,” said Mohammad Javad, an eye witness.