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US airstrikes on Afghan drug labs caused large civilian casualties: UN

09 Oct 2019 1TV News

The United States' airstrikes on alleged drug-processing facilities in western Afghanistan on 5 May caused large civilian casualties, the United Nations said in a special report released on Wednesday.

A total of 39 civilian casualties, including 14 children and one woman, were caused in multiple airstrikes on more than 60 sites that the US military identified as drug-production facilities in Bakwa district and in parts of the neighbouring Delaram district of Nimroz province, the report said.

It said that it was working to verify credible reports of at least 37 additional civilian casualties.

The report said that although airstrikes on alleged drug labs had taken place before, this was the first time that UNAMA had received reports of a large number of civilian casualties resulting from such an operation.

US Forces – Afghanistan disputed the report, saying the strikes against Taliban methamphetamine labs and Taliban combatants on May 5 accurately targeted and struck sources of Taliban revenues.

“USFOR – A deliberately chose the targets and the timing for the strikes to avoid non-combatant casualties, striking during daylight hours to maximize the ability to obtain and share site pictures which ensured we could verify the absence of civilians,” it said in a statement.

It said that forces used multiple surveillance platforms, including aircraft full-motion video gathering capabilities and hours of scrutiny of the targeted sites.

The statement said that assessments of the facilities and surrounding areas following the strikes determined that the strikes did not cause deaths or injuries to non-combatants.

The UN said that according to longstanding US polity, economic objects that contribute to the war effort of a party to a conflict are considered legitimate military objectives.

However, according to international humanitarian law, including international customary law, facilities that contribute economically or financially to the war effort of a party to a conflict are considered civilian objectives, the UN said.

Original Link: http://www.1tvnews.af/en/news/afghanistan/39803-us-airstrikes-on-afghan-drug-labs-caused-large-civilian-casualties-un

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