Air strike in Afghanistan kills eight civilians

Afghan residents sit in a damaged courtyard as they drink tea following a NATO airstrike on a house in Kabul. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 February 2020

Air strike in Afghanistan kills eight civilians

  • US President Donald Trump said on Thursday there was a “good chance” of reaching an agreement with the Taliban on a reduction of US troops in Afghanistan
  • A vehicle carrying civilians was targeted in an air strike in the eastern province of Nangarhar, according to residents

KABUL: An air strike in Afghanistan on Friday killed at least eight people — all believed to be civilians, residents said — following US statements that there had been a breakthrough in peace talks.
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday there was a “good chance” of reaching an agreement with the Taliban on a reduction of US troops in Afghanistan.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said an important breakthrough had been made in peace talks with the Taliban in recent days, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper said they had negotiated a proposal for a week-long reduction in violence.
But on Friday a vehicle carrying civilians was targeted in an air strike in the eastern province of Nangarhar, according to residents, who added that among the eight killed was a child. Taliban insurgents have a strong presence in the region.
A spokesman for the provincial governor of Nangarhar confirmed the incident but did not say who the victims were.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said 11 civilians were killed in the incident.
Afghan, Taliban and US sources said over the last 48 hours that a deal to curb violence was on the verge of implementation. Details about when that was set to begin were not immediately clear but a Taliban official said it would be this week.
While US and Taliban negotiators pressed on with meetings in Doha, Qatar, the Taliban and the Afghan government also reported fighting on the ground over the last 24 hours.
An air strike on Thursday evening killed a senior Taliban commander and eight others in northern Balkh province, the Afghan defense ministry said.
The Taliban’s Mujahid said the insurgents had killed six Afghan soldiers, including two officers, in an attack on a checkpoint in northern Kunduz province.

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Twelve killed in Indian Kashmir violence amid virus lockdown

SRINAGAR: Nine suspected militants and three soldiers were killed in two separate incidents in Indian-administered Kashmir, officials said Sunday, as authorities enforced a lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kashmir, a restive region claimed by nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, had already been under a long-running curfew imposed to quell unrest as New Delhi scrapped the Himalayan valley’s semi-autonomous status on August 5.
Indian army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said five armed militants were killed early Sunday in the northern Keran area close to the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed territory with Pakistan.
The clashes also left three soldiers dead and critically injured several more, he said in a brief statement.
The fighting came within 24 hours of another gunbattle between suspected rebels and government forces in the southern Kulgam area that left four dead.
Police said all four were militants from the local area.
Kashmir has waged a three-decade-long armed rebellion against Indian rule with tens of thousands of lives, mostly civilians, lost in the conflict.
India regularly accuses its arch-rival Pakistan of arming and sending rebels across the heavily militarised border. Islamabad denies the claims.