US probing claims of civilian casualties after Afghanistan strike
U.S. forces in Afghanistan are investigating allegations that an American airstrike on Wednesday killed at least 11 civilians.
Officials are “aware of an incident in the Pul-e ‘Alam District in Logar Province this morning with potential civilian casualties,” U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement, adding that “an official investigation has been launched.”
Witnesses and officials said civilians were killed during a joint U.S.-Afghan military operation against the Taliban, The New York Times reported.
The forces came under Taliban fire and had called for air support, said Salim Salih, a spokesman for the provincial governor, according to The Times.
The spokesman said that a government delegation sent to the battle site found 11 civilians dead and 16 wounded. The aide said that two Taliban commanders were also killed.
U.S. Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Capt. Bill Salvin told the newspaper that a U.S. helicopter had made a “precautionary landing because of a maintenance issue” in Logar Province, but there were no casualties.
He would not say whether airstrikes occurred in the area where the helicopter landed.
“United States Forces-Afghanistan takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and is working with our Afghan partners to determine the facts surrounding this incident,” read the statement from U.S. forces in Afghanistan.