U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad called the Takhar airstrike a “terrible tragedy” that claimed the lives of civilians.
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Citing the report by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), Khalilzad said that 12 children were killed and 18 others, including the mosques’ mullah, were injured in an airstrike by the Afghan government forces in Takhar.
Offering condolences to the families, the envoy said: “This is a terrible tragedy. Unfortunately, tragedy is not limited to Takhar. Civilians are victims of car bombs, IEDs [improvised explosive devices], and targeted killings perpetrated by the Taliban. Civilians have been forced to flee fighting in Lashkar Gah and other areas.”
Calling for an immediate reduction of violence leading to a ceasefire, Khalilzad pushed for an accelerated political settlement in Doha.
“The United States is singularly focused on this goal and is pressing both parties to reduce violence and find a path to peace as soon as possible,” the envoy said.
He also added that it was “vital” for Afghanistan’s independent media and civil society to be allowed to document current events, referring to comments by the First Vice President Amrullah Saleh last week.
The Ministry of Defence and First Vice President Amrullah Saleh had said the Oct. 21 airstrike killed Taliban fighters who were responsible for attacking Afghan security forces.
Saleh’s office said they arrested the person responsible for spreading “venomous and fake news” against the security forces.
Clashes between the Afghan forces and the Taliban militants continue despite the ongoing peace talks in Qatar which began in September.