U.S. “kills” 9 Afghan family members

August 30, 2021 - 16:33

Nine members of one family were killed in a U.S. drone strike targeting a vehicle in a residential neighborhood of Kabul, according to U.S. media citing a relative of those killed.

The dead include six children, the youngest being a 2-year-old girl, the brother of one of the dead also told local media. 

Only after the emergence of the reports, the U.S. military acknowledged that there are potential civilian deaths following a U.S. airstrike in Kabul. 

A spokesperson for U.S. Central Command claims that “powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties.”

In a statement, the spokesperson added: “we are aware of reports of civilian casualties following our strike on a vehicle in Kabul today”.

U.S. CENTCOM initially said there were no indications of civilian casualties.

As reports of the fatalities emerged five rockets were launched in the direction of Kabul Airport. American officials said they were intercepted by the C-RAM missile system installed at the airport.

The incident took place earlier on Sunday when the U.S. military launched the drone strike against a vehicle that Washington claims was carrying Daesh’s local affiliate.

The Taliban condemned the strike, saying it had violated Afghanistan’s sovereignty. Zabihullah Mujahid, the main spokesman for the group, said civilians had suffered casualties in the U.S. strike and a house had been hit.

A day earlier, the U.S. struck a target in the province of Nangarhar, also alleging that it was targeting Daesh.

China’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the attack saying "while respecting the sovereignty of Afghanistan, the U.S. should take concrete action to help Afghanistan fight terrorism and stop violence, rather than playing double standards or fighting terrorism selectively"

Critics of U.S. drone strikes say they tend to kill civilians instead of the alleged target and radicalize elements of the population.  

Meanwhile, world leaders say they have received assurances from the Taliban that foreign nationals and those with authorization to leave Afghanistan will be free to evacuate, as tensions and bloodshed escalate on the streets of Kabul.

In a joint statement released by the UK along with the U.S. and more than 90 other countries, it was confirmed that the Taliban had said anyone who wished to leave the country could do so.

The joint statement said: “We have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to points of departure and travel outside the country.”

On Monday, the UN Security Council discussed the Taliban’s reassurances, amid mounting concerns over the plight of thousands of Afghans with western links.

A significant number of foreign citizens also continue to wait at the airport in the hope of being rescued despite the security threats and departure of foreign forces. 

Footage of people holding foreign passports and pleading for help has surfaced on international media outlets. 

Critics have slammed the way foreign governments have abandoned their own nationals. It follows the chaotic withdrawal of the U.S.-led coalition following two decades of occupation, which has led many analysts to make comparisons with the U.S. military evacuation of Vietnam.

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