As Taliban swarmed around their intended victim(s) in preparation of carrying out an execution Saturday, armaments delivered by coalition aircraft killed scores of the Taliban would-be executioners.
In Kunar Province, where the Taliban died, officials pegged the death toll at approximately 40 to 50. NATO claims “at least two dozen” Taliban insurgents that had gathered to execute members of a family after an altercation were killed in the attack.
The large group of Taliban, who were described as being armed, was spotted by Afghan-NATO ground troops who relayed coordinates to NATO, according to a New York Times report.
Afghan and NATO officials visited the scene afterwards and determined that no civilians were killed by the bombing, according to NATO spokesman Maj. Martyn Crighton in Kabul.
“They have confirmed there were no civilians,” Crighton said.
The attack occurred in the Chapa Dara district of Kunar Province, a sparsely populated region near the Pakistan border. Najibullah, the police chief of the Chapa Dara district, claims the insurgents came to settle a dispute between two families after one person was killed in a domestic account (Afghans often go by first name only). It was not clear whether the Taliban were about to execute women, children or men.
The domestic victim’s relatives detained an unknown number of persons they said were responsible for the initial killing and then requested the Taliban to execute them, according to locals. However, the large huddle of Taliban presented NATO with an opportunity to execute its own effective air strike, according to a separate BBC report.
While Najibullah said as many as 50 insurgents were killed in the NATO airstrike, Mohammad Daud Barekzai, deputy police chief of Kunar Province, said the airstrike killed 41 insurgents.