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UN probes casualty claims from US strikes in Afghanistan

AFP  |  Kabul 

The UN's mission said Monday it was probing allegations of civilian casualties resulting from US air strikes against purported drug-making facilities in western

The allegations centre on strikes conducted earlier this month in and provinces, where dozens of structures said to have been used to produce heroin and other illegal drugs were destroyed.

According to Nasrat Rahimi, "150 terrorists were killed, 40 wounded" in the operations.

But the have denied the facilities were used for drugs and claimed "up to 100" civilians were killed.

In a statement, the Assistance Mission in (UNAMA) said it was "actively looking into allegations of civilian casualties resulting from International Military Forces' aerial operations in and provinces against reported drug manufacturing facilities".

"The locations are not easily accessible and there are numerous operational challenges to the verification" of civilians being harmed, UNAMA added.

The US-led NATO mission in did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, UNAMA published a report saying Afghan civilians are for the first time being killed in greater numbers by US and pro-government forces than by the and other insurgent groups.

It also chastised the Taliban for an increase in deadly violence across Afghanistan during Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

The war-torn nation has seen continued violence since the start of last week as the Taliban and the US were engaged in talks to try to find an end to the war.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for a May 8 attack on a US-funded aid group in that claimed the lives of nine civilians and Afghan security officials.

"There can be absolutely no justification for deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians," Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General's for Afghanistan, said in the UNAMA statement.

"It is particularly egregious that a premeditated act of extreme violence was conducted against a development agency where civilians were striving to improve the lives of all citizens."

An earlier attack by the Taliban just before saw at least 13 people killed and dozens more wounded after a suicide bomber and several gunmen attacked a police headquarters in Pul-i-Khumri in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 13 2019. 17:46 IST