Afghan Airstrike Destroys Home, Kills 16 Civilians

Air support called in during heavy fighting in Helmand Province

The Afghan government’s fledgling air force has considerable problems with targeting accuracy, and those problems continued Thursday with an airstrike in Helmand Province destroying a house-full of civilians, killing 16 members of an extended family.

According to provincial officials, air support was called in amid heavy fighting in the oft-contested Sangin District. Both US and Afghan warplanes were called in, and the Afghan aircraft were blamed for hitting the civilian house.

NATO officials confirmed US advisors and warplanes were involved in the “multi-day operation,” but they claimed to be uncertain about reports of “non-combatant casualties,” despite those already having been confirmed by the government.

Escalating airstrikes by both the US and Afghan forces have been causing growing civilian casualties, with the Afghan military’s strikes even more likely to result in such casualties.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.