Protests over civilian deaths turn violent in Afghanistan

Published 30.09.2019 00:11

A protest against an alleged air raid causing civilian casualties in Afghanistan turned violent Sunday with many protesters injured, according to local sources. Dozens of protesters took to the streets in Ghazni province after the killing of at least five civilians in the Khoja Omari and Khogyani districts late on Saturday.

The U.S. military in Kabul confirmed yesterday that airstrikes in the nearby areas killed 11 Taliban fighters, but did not confirm civilian casualties. Afghanistan has seen an upsurge in violence since the collapse of U.S.-Taliban peace talks earlier this month. Afghan forces backed by U.S. air power managed to reclaim some territory from the insurgents, resulting in deadly clashes in various pockets of the country claiming many lives on all sides.

During the election on Saturday, Taliban fighters attacked several polling stations across the country to try to derail the process, but intense security prevented large-scale violence. Authorities heralded Saturday's election as a success because the Taliban were unable to pull off a large-scale attack resulting in high casualty numbers. There were more than 400 attacks, mostly small-scale, carried out by the militants, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network. The Taliban claimed to have conducted 531 attacks, while the Interior Ministry said "the enemy" had carried out 68 assaults. The official death toll is five members of the security forces. But in years past, authorities have suppressed information on election day only to later give larger numbers.

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