A pre-dawn NATO airstrike allegedly killed 18 civilians and an afternoon “double-tap” suicide bombing killed 23 during an especially violent Wednesday across Afghanistan, Qais Azimy of Al Jazeera reports.The target of NATO strike was a house in which a tribal elder was meeting Taliban fighters.
Coalition troops learned of the meeting and launched a night raid to arrest the fighters, but called in an airstrike after the fighters opened fire when asked to surrender.
The head of the provincial governor spokesman told Al Jazeera that the tribal elder and 17 members of his family, including women and children, were killed along with seven Taliban fighters.
NATO has denied reports of civilian deaths, releasing a statement that said the strike was targeting a Taliban leader, multiple insurgents were killed and several weapons were seized while only two women “sustained non-life-threatening injuries.”
Deputy provincial police chief Rais Khan Sadeq Abdulrahimzai told AFP that “18 civilians, including women and children, are dead” along with seven insurgents.
After allegations of civilian deaths surfaced, an ISAF spokesman told AFP that they were “assessing and gathering facts to try to determine what happened.”
Later in the day a “double-tap” occurred when a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up at a market in Kandahar, and as a crowd gathered to help the victims, a second bomber walked into them and detonated himself. At least 23 civilians died and least 50 others injuring during the attacks.
Two NATO forces also died in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan, reports CNN. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said that cause of the crash is under investigation while a Taliban spokesman said that it was shot down.
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