Afghan Forces Kill at Least 45, Many Civilians, in Heavy Airstrikes

Taliban warns free prisoners may return to fighting in the area

A flurry of airstrikes by the Afghan military in eastern Herat Province has killed at least 45 people so far, many of them civilians. Officials emphasized that six Taliban were slain, declaring all of them “key commanders.”

The deaths of civilians are a potentially serious problem for the Afghan government, and the Taliban warned that hitting Taliban targets could also force recently freed prisoners to return to fighting in the area.

The Afghan Defense Ministry promised to investigate reports of civilian casualties, but insisted that the military will “not spare any effort” in its ongoing military operations against the Taliban.

That’s potentially risky as well, because the Taliban and government are said to be close to peace talks, and if they are engage in heavy fighting those talks are less and less likely to materialize.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.