Wednesday, March 21, 2018
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Civilians feared killed in air raid on Taliban base

Investigation launched into raid in Herat that resulted in the deaths of women and children besides Taliban fighters.

An investigation has been launched into air raids targeting a Taliban base that resulted in the deaths of at least 13 civilians, including women and children, in the western province of Herat, according to Afghan officials.

The raids, targeting a prison and command base run by the fighters in the Bakhtabad area of Shen Dand district, also hit nearby houses late on Monday evening, Jilani Farhad, Herat provincial spokesman, said.

"We have sent an investigation team into the area to find out the damages it has caused."

Farhad said the raids were most likely carried out by Afghan forces, but media reports suggested it was the US forces who conducted the raids.

Responding to media reports, Farhad said it will be clear in a few days after the investigation is over on Wednesday.

At least 16 Taliban fighters were also killed, he said.

The US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) have not yet commented on the incident.

It comes a week after US President Donald Trump reversed the US stance on Afghanistan and authorised a troop build-up.

In his new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia, Trump did not specify troop levels.

READ MORE: Timeline - US intervention in Afghanistan 2001 to 2017

Earlier this month, hundreds of Afghans took to the streets in Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province, protesting the alleged killing of 16 civilians in a similar US air raid.

In a separate incident on Wednesday, at least two security guards were killed after two suicide bombers launched a coordinated attack on parliamentarian Zahir Qader's house in Jalalabad.

Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said both suicide bombers detonated suicide vests full of explosive outside Qader's house.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group later claimed responsibility for the attack.

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