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US Air Strike Kills At Least 18 Afghan Civilians — Mostly Women and Children

Survivors of a botched US raid that killed at least 16 civilians, including an American 8-year-old, in Yemen earlier this month. (Photo: Bureau of Investigative Journalism/Creative Commons)

At least 18 civilians, most of them women and children, were killed in a US air strike late Thursday in Helmand province, Afghanistan, the United Nations reported.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said “international military forces” attacked anti-government fighters in Lakari village in Sangin district, Helmand province. At least 18 civilians were killed, “nearly all women and children,” according to the UN.

Gen. Charles H. Cleveland, a spokesman for the US-led coalition that has been waging a 15-year war against the Taliban and other Islamist militants in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terror attacks on the United States, confirmed that American warplanes carried out around 30 strikes in Sangin district last week. “We are investigating the allegations and working diligently to determine whether civilians were killed or injured as a result of US air strikes conducted in support and defense of Afghan forces in or around Sangin,” said Cleveland.

Sangin resident Haji Ahmand said he was in Kandahar when a bomb hit his brother’s home around 2 a.m. Ahmand said two boys and two women from his family were killed in the attack. “What the Americans are doing in Helmand is not right,” he told the Guardian. “They target the locals instead of [the] Taliban. The Taliban are far from my brother’s house. We would prefer if the Americans would just leave us alone.”

The deadly strike came as Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said the war against the Taliban had ground to a stalemate. Some 8,400 US troops remain in Afghanistan; most NATO forces withdrew from the war-torn country in 2014.

The latest deadly US air strike occurred just weeks after a botched Special Forces ground raid in Yemen killed at least 16 civilians. Among those killed were nine young children, including American 8-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki. At least 34 innocent civilians have been killed in US attacks since President Donald Trump took office. While campaigning for president, Trump promised to “bomb the shit out of” Islamist militants and “take out their families.”

Since the nuclear war waged by the United States against Japan at the end of World War II, US forces have killed more foreign civilians than any other armed force on Earth.

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