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Taliban claim air raid kills 8 civilians, wounds 12

Discarding this claim, Afghan official says 6 key Taliban commanders killed in Herat province

Shadi Khan Saif   | 22.07.2020
Taliban claim air raid kills 8 civilians, wounds 12

KABUL, Afghanistan 

The Taliban in Afghanistan on Wednesday claimed an air raid killed eight civilians and wounded 12 others in the western Herat province bordering Iran.

In a statement, the group said two airstrikes were conducted in the Guzara district’s Kham Zyarat area on the residence of a recently freed Taliban fighter, killing eight people and wounding 12, including women and children.

The Taliban warned: "... such attacks would compel recently freed prisoners who wish to live normal lives to take up arms once again against the enemy.”

Meanwhile, Jailani Farhad, the spokesman for the Herat governor, told Anadolu Agency that at least six key Taliban commanders involved in major assaults in various districts of Herat were targeted in the air raid.

Farhad claimed that the civilian casualties were caused by a landmine blast nearby.

This comes a day after surging clashes between the Afghan forces and Taliban, leaving over 50 people dead on both sides in the southern Kandahar province.

The rejuvenated yet fragile Afghan peace deal hinges on the prisoner exchange. In line with the landmark US-Taliban peace agreement, some 5,000 Taliban prisoners should have been released from government prisons in return for the estimated 1,000 captive security forces in March.

But, according to the National Security Council, the government has released some 4,019 Taliban thus far, while the Taliban have released barely half of the 1,000 hostages they agreed to release.

Last week, the Taliban had warned the government "not to create hurdles" in the peace process.

Violence in the war-torn country continues unabated. The latest figures by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission suggest that in the first six months of this year, a total of 1,213 civilians have been killed, while 1,744 were injured in 880 incidents.

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