KABUL — 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 which took place in the Bala Buluk district. But family members of the victims are claiming they were hit by an airstrike.
Gen. Dawlat Waziri, a Defence 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 neighbouring 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 attacked by a helicopter.
"I don't want to be alive anymore while I don't have my children with me," she said, crying.
The Afghan security forces operate helicopter gunships, as does the U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile a parliamentarian from Helmand province was wounded after he was attacked by gunmen in neighbouring Kandahar province, said Samim Khpolwak, spokesman for the provincial governor.
Khpolwak said that the lawmaker, Mir Wali, was shot by two attackers on a motorcycle who escaped afterward.
Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying Wali is a close ally of the United States.
This was the second attack on Wali in recent months. In December 2016, three gunmen stormed Wali's home in the capital, Kabul. Eight people were killed in the attack and Wali was wounded.
The Associated Press