US Airstrikes in Afghanistan Are Said to Kill 16 Civilians

"On Thursday afternoon, the US forces bombarded a civilian private vehicle. when they were travelling inside the district", Saaz Wali Shinwari, the district governor of Haska Mina in Nangarhar province, told AFP.

On July 24, Afghan officials said, nine civilians were killed in a US airstrike on a prayer ceremony held in Haska Meena, near the border with Pakistan, by relatives of ISIS members who had been killed.

The United States on Saturday vehemently denied claims by Afghan officials that it had killed several civilians in an air strike in volatile eastern Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the USA military in Kabul said that those killed in the airstrikes had been seen loading weapons into a vehicle.

Mohammada Khan, 42, a truck driver, said in a telephone interview that he had lost six members of his family in the airstrike, which hit a minibus in which they were fleeing."There were no ISIS members in the area", he said.

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted at the alleged civilian deaths in an airstrike of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

"The strike was conducted in the middle of open terrain".

"This was the second false claim of civilian casualties in the same district in the last three weeks", Purtiman added.

They have been regularly targeting Daesh positions in several districts in restive Nangarhar.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Taliban and Islamic State attacked a village in the northern province of Sar-e Pul this week, killing between 50-60 people, a leading Afghan human rights group said on Friday. It came after a USA air strike in Sangin killed at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children, in February.

"US forces take every precaution to conduct all operations in a way that minimizes civilian casualties", the statement said. Local officials said Taliban insurgents and Islamic State loyalists jointly carried out the bloodshed. Women and children were among the victims. U.S. officials have said that Trump's doubts about the war has led to a delay in completing a new strategy in the war-torn country.

UNAMA, however, urged all parties to refrain from exploiting harrowing events for political purposes and before basic facts were established.

Vanessa Coleman