The United Nations mission in Afghanistan has condemned the killing of at least 15 civilian men and the injuring of at least 13 others, including at least one boy, in an airstrike targeting the ISIS conducted in the country’s eastern district of Achin.
In a press statement, the UN Assistance Mission (UNAMA) reiterated the need for all parties to the conflict to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law.
“UNAMA calls on the Government and international military forces to launch a prompt, independent, impartial, transparent, and effective investigation into this incident,” the mission said.
In the early morning of 28 September, an international military forces unmanned aerial vehicle conducted an airstrike, reportedly targeting members of ISIS, which struck a civilian home, killing the 15 civilians, according to UNAMA.
The civilians had gathered in a village to celebrate the return of a tribal elder from the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and were reportedly sleeping in a guesthouse of the elder when the airstrike occurred. Civilian victims of the strike included students and a teacher, as well as members of families considered to be pro-Government. Government sources report that ISIS personnel also died in the attack, UNAMA said.
The mission highlighted that in a press release issued, United States Force acknowledged conducting the airstrike, but refrained from elaborating further, indicating that they “are still reviewing all materials related to the strike.”
UNAMA also expressed condolences to the families of those killed in the incident and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
Last month, another US drone attack killed 22 Afghan soldiers held by Taliban militants in the Nad-e-Ali district of Helmand Province.
In July, UNAMA said the UN had counted 1,601 civilian deaths and 3,565 injuries in Afghanistan in the first half of 2016. The records, it said, showed an unprecedented rise in civilian casualties.
In June 2015, a group of former US military personnel issued a joint appeal to drone pilots carrying out strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and other Muslim nations, urging them to refuse to work.
They said the targeted assassination missions “profoundly violate domestic and international laws.”