Airstrike targeting Taliban breakaway commander causes civilian casualties in Herat
As many as seven people including four children and three women have been killedin airstrikes that targeted a commander of the Taliban breakaway faction, Mullah Nangyalai, in Shindand district of the western Herat province. This incident took palace on Wednesday, January 08.
Local security officials, on condition of anonymity, told
Kabul Now that a drone strike led by foreign forces hit “Payee Koshk” area,
around 700 KM south west of the district’s capital city.
The airstrikes have provoked wide public criticism. Locals
claim that causality rate is far more than the number reported by the local
Afghan security source. They say that more than a dozen residential houses have
completely been destroyed as result of drone strike.
“37 – 40 men
commanded by Nangyalai, have been killed in the Wednesday’s attack,” said Saleh
Mohammad, an eyewitness who claims has seen the airstrike. He claimed nearly 60
people including women and children have been killed by the strikes.
Tribal elders are lambasting at foreign forces for collateral
damages caused by drone strikes conducted by foreign forces.Tur Mohammad Zarifi, a tribal elder, told
Kabul Now that over 40 civilians have been killed and 10 others wounded in
Payee Kushk area. “35 [militia] men of Mullah Nangyalai have also been killed.
The attacks have been carried out by US warplanes,” he claimed.
Wakil Ahmad Korkhi, a member of Herat Provincial Council,
however, said around 40 civilians were killed in the airstrike.
“This is actually so pity for Americans, they are killing
us. The government must take the issue of civilians casualties serious,” said
Masooda Korkhi, a female MP who represents Herat in the Afghan parliament.
Herat governor, Abdul Qayyum Rahimi told Kabul Now that no
civilian was harmed in the airstrikes. He promised that the government will
launch a probe on the incident.
So far, the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan, Resolute
Support, have not commented about civilians casualties.
The airstrikes come months after top US General, Scott
Miller, who is leading the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, assured
that the NATO mission would take proper actions to avoid civilian casualties.
In a US airstrike in the same district, which was carried
out in August, 2008, 90 civilians – among them 60 children – were killed and 15
others wounded, according to the United Nations mission in Kabul.
Who was Mullah Nangyalai?
Mullah Nangyalai was a key commander of
the Taliban splinter group led by Mullah Mohammad Rasul, who led more than 300
fighters, according to sources close to the militant group in Shindand. Though
not confirmed independently, but many claims have been made that Nangyalai was
supported by the Afghan government to fight against mainstream Taliban faction,
currently led by Mullah Haibatullah.
His father, Amanullah Khan, was a
former Jihadist commander who fought a never-ending hostility against Ismail
Khan, a key figure of Jamiat-e-Islami Party and former minister of energy and
water. He was the district governor of Shindand district. Nangyalai was
introduced as district governor of the district by Sayed Hussain Anwari, then
governor of the province, after his father was killed in a battle with Arbab
Nangyalai, however, joined the Taliban
as his opposition with the government grew further. Later, he was appointed as
military commander of the Taliban splinter group in Shindand. The splinter
group was created by Mullah Rasul as result of his opposition with Mullah Mohammad
Mansoor who had been declared as leader of the Taliban after the death of the
group’s founding leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.