Afghan Senator Reports US Airstrikes Kill 21 Civilians in Helmand

Local officials promise investigation into attacks on Sangin District

According to Sen. Mohammed Alkozai from Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, a pair of US airstrikes in the contested Sangin District have killed at least 21 civilians, including women and children. The strikes were reportedly carried out Friday night.

Exact figures may continue to rise, as some locals put the larger of the two strikes at 14 killed and six wounded, while the senator said it was only 13. One resident said one of the attack helicopters killed his 10-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, and wounded his wife.

That incident was at the civilian’s brother’s home, and he turned on a flashlight, which led to a flurry of gunfire from the helicopter against the home. The Pentagon confirmed strikes in the area, but said they could neither confirm or deny any civilian deaths.

Along with vague promises from the Pentagon to look into the matter, Helmand Province officials also promised a proper investigation into the deaths. Sangin District is strategically important, and has long been contested by the Taliban.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.