The United Nations mission in Afghanistan voiced concern Tuesday over increasing numbers of civilian casualties as a result of airstrikes by US or government forces, following reports that nine were killed in an eastern province last week.
Airstrikes have spiked steeply this year, in a strategy aimed at forcing Taliban militants to accept peace talks, with the number of bombs dropped by the US air force almost doubling in the first six months, to nearly 3,000.
The UNAMA mission said it had received “multiple, credible allegations” that a strike hit the house of a teacher in the eastern province of Kapisa on Saturday, killing nine members of the same family, including three women and four children. Six others were wounded, it said.
“UNAMA reminds all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations to protect civilians from harm,” it said in a statement.
“The Mission repeats its earlier call for government forces to uphold their commitment to regular review of targeting protocols and ensure mitigation measures and compensation for victims.”
Mohammad Radmanish, a defense ministry spokesman confirmed civilian casualties during a joint operation by Afghan and US forces that involved air support, but gave no details. He said an investigation was underway.