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article imageUS airstrikes in Afghanistan kill rebel Mullah plus 15 civilians

By Ken Hanly     Jan 22, 2020 in World
US airstrikes against a splinter group of the Taliban killed Mullah Raaz Mohammed Nangyalai. However, according to the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan (IHRC) 15 civilians were also killed.
IHRC describes attack as a clear violation of human rights
The IHRC issued a report calling on foreign forces to be more careful that civilians are not harmed by their military operations. The IHRC said the civilian killings were a clear violation of human rights. Those killed included 3 women and 3 children.
A recent article
notes: "A spokesman for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan confirmed an American aircraft conducted the strike but said further questions should be directed to the Afghan Defense Ministry." The Ministry said earlier that the January 8 attack was being investigated.
In the first quarter of 2019
more Afghans were killed by US and Afghan forces than the Taliban: "During the first three months of 2019, international and pro-government forces were responsible for the deaths of 305 civilians, whereas insurgent groups killed 227 people, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a quarterly report."
Nangyalai was regional commander of a Taliban splinter group
Nangyalai was a commander of the Rasoul Group that split from the main Taliban faction back in 2015. Although theoretically itself an insurgent group it has often operated with the tacit consent of the Afghan government. No doubt this is in part because the Rasoul group has often fought with the main Taliban forces in Herat. However, infighting is not as heavy as it was earlier.
The attack happened when there was an attempt to arrest one of Nangyalai's deputies that resulted in a battle with the militants with US air support being called in according to a former spokesperson for the group.
A recent article
notes: " An official in Herat said the killing of Nangyalai may have weakened locals’ support for the government in Kabul.“He (Mullah Nangyalai) was a Taliban member at one time but he supported the security forces,” Kamran Alizaee, head of Herat’s provincial council, told Tolo News after the attack."
Afghan officials have warned that the killing of Mullah Nangyalai could weaken support for the government locally as he was a comparatively popular religious figure in the local area,.
More about US in Afghanistan, IHRC, Rasoul Group
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