At least eight Afghan civilians, including four children, were killed in an attack late Friday night in western Farah province, according to Afghan officials. However there is disagreement over what exactly caused the deaths.
Mohammad Naser Mehri, spokesman for the provincial governor, said Saturday that the incident was a roadside bomb explosion in the Bala Buluk district. But family members of the victims are claiming they were hit by an airstrike.
Gen. Dawlat Waziri, a Defense Ministry spokesman, told The Associated Press that an investigation of the incident is underway.
“We are aware of the allegations made by the local people, right now an investigation is going on into the incident in Farah,” Waziri said.
Dr. Abdul Hakim Rasouli, director of Farah Hospital, said that 22 others are wounded in the attack. Three of the wounded are in critical condition and will be transferred to another hospital in neighboring Herat province for their further treatment, he said.
Farah's Bala Buluk district has been the site of several recent clashes between Afghan security forces and armed insurgents. One resident, a 30-year-old mother of four named Salima, said two of her children were killed and a third wounded. In a phone interview with The Associated Press, Salima, who like many Afghans goes by only one name, said her family was hit by an airstrike.
“I don't want to be alive anymore while I don't have my children with me,” she said, crying.
Salima said that her village had been the site of ongoing gunbattles for the past three days and that Taliban militants had warned villagers to leave their homes for safety.