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Halt civilian casualties, UN says after report of 11 killed by Afghan govt

14 Aug 2019 TRT World

Afghanistan's security agency said a Taliban hideout was targeted and there were no civilian casualties. Civilian deaths have been increasing as the US and Taliban attempt to negotiate an agreement to end the 18-year war.

The United Nations said on

Wednesday it was gravely concerned about reports indicating 11

civilians had been killed in an Afghan security force operation

in an eastern province near the border with Pakistan.

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan have been increasing,

despite attempts by the United States and the Taliban to

negotiate an agreement to end the 18-year war.

The government's main security agency, the National

Directorate of Security (NDS), said the operation in Paktia

province had targeted a Taliban hideout and among the 11 dead

militants were two commanders.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)said it was

gravely concerned at the killings during a search operation and

a human rights team was investigating.

"Accountability essential. Harm to civilians must stop," the

agency said in a post on Twitter.

A politician in the area said the government forces attacked

a student gathering over the Eid al Adha Muslim holiday.

"A university student had invited his classmates for

dinner," Allah Mir Khan Bahramzoi, a provincial council member

in Paktia, told Reuters.

"Late in the evening, security forces surrounded the house,

brought out the victims from the guesthouse and shot them one by

one," he said by telephone from the province.

The NDS said weapons and ammunition were seized in the raid.

"This operation was conducted based on operative information

on a Taliban hideout/centre and it left no civilian casualties,"

the agency said in a statement.

The United Nations says nearly 4,000 civilians were killed

or wounded in the first half of the year. The toll included a

big increase in the number of casualties inflicted by government

and US-led foreign forces.

Ground raids and clashes caused the most civilian

casualties, followed by bomb attacks and air strikes, UNAMA said

in a report last month.

There has been no let-up in violence, even though the

Taliban and the United States have both reported significant

progress in talks on a pact for US troops to withdraw in

exchange for a Taliban promise that Afghanistan will not be used

as a base for militant attacks.

Their latest round of talks ended on Monday without a final agreement. No date has been announced for the next round.

Source: Reuters

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