US condemns deadly airstrikes in Afghanistan's Herat province
The United States condemned the airstrikes conducted by the Afghan Air Force in the western province of Herat that left multiple civilians dead, said the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.
"The last 24 hours have been very violent in Afghanistan with many losing their lives. In Herat, photos and eyewitness accounts suggest many civilians including children are among the victims of an Afghan airstrike. We condemn the attack and support an investigation," Khalilzad wrote on his Twitter page on late Wednesday, reported Sputnik.
Airstrikes in eastern Afghanistan killed 45 people, including civilians and Taliban fighters, local officials said on Wednesday.
Ali Ahmad Faqir Yar, governor of Adraskan district in the eastern Afghan province of Herat, said, "Forty-five people had been killed so far in airstrikes by security forces in the Kham Ziarat area. Taliban were among those killed and at least eight civilians were among the dead".
The diplomat also slammed the Taliban Islamist movement for recent attacks that also resulted in many civilian deaths.
"The Afghan people want an immediate start of peace negotiations and a settlement that is in their best interest. More graves will not bring negotiations forward. Rather than setting the process back, we urge all sides to contain the violence, protect civilians, and show necessary restraint as the start of intra-Afghan negotiations is so close," Khalilzad added.
Under the US-Taliban peace agreement which was signed in Doha on February 29, up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners should be released by the Afghan government ahead of the intra-Afghan negotiations.
The process has not been completed yet.
Despite the February agreement, the situation in Afghanistan has remained volatile with sporadic attacks both by the Afghan forces and the Taliban, on each other.