US airstrikes on Afghan drug lab killed 39 civilians: UN

ANKARA

U.S. airstrikes on alleged drug production facilities in Afghanistan claimed 39 civilian casualties including children, the UN said Wednesday.

“The UN verified 39 civilian casualties, among them 14 children and one woman, from multiple airstrikes on more than 60 sites that the United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) identified as drug-production facilities in Bakwa district and in parts of the neighboring Delaram district of Nimroz province,” the report said.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan along with representatives of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission conducted a site visit in June as part of its extensive fact-finding into the May 5 incident.

“Moreover, the UN is working to verify credible reports of at least 37 additional civilian casualties, the majority of whom were women and children,” it added.

The report stressed that drug facilities and associated workers “may not be lawfully made the target of attack and should be protected”.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan rejected the UN report saying it was not based on “credible” sources.

“USFOR -A follows the highest standards of accuracy and accountability to avoid harm to non-combatants and collateral damage,” said USFOR-A spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett.

The tenacious spate of bloody violence in Afghanistan has claimed more than 3,000 lives on all sides in the past two months.

*Shadi Khan Saif contributed to the report from Kabul
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