Nearly 30 civilians were killed in the latest US airstrike in Afghanistan on May 5. The attack took place in the western Bakwa district and the most of the civilians were daily wage laborers. Six of them were from a single family. Government forces claimed that 150 Taliban insurgents were killed in the attack.
The military operation, according to government officials, was carried out to destroy 68 illicit opium and meth labs. Drugs are a major source of revenue for the insurgents, yielding around USD 1 million a day.
In another incident on the same day, 20 civilians lost their lives after Taliban forces stormed the police headquarters in the northern Baghlan province on May 5. As many as 13 policemen were also killed and many injured.
These attacks come a few days after a massive Loya Jirga (assembly of social and political leaders) which called for a truce during the month of Ramadan. The Taliban dismissed the offer. They also follow a series of deadly attacks by the Taliban, which inflicted substantial casualties on pro-government forces. Meanwhile, the latest round of peace talks between the US and the Taliban began on May 1. The government has been kept out of these negotiations.
A recent United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report said that government and pro-government forces, including international forces, had killed more civilians in the first three months of 2019 than the Taliban.
2018 was one of the the worst years in terms of civilian deaths, according to a report by the UNAMA and the UN Human Rights Office. Almost 3,804 civilian deaths were reported last year, including 927 children. The international military forces were responsible for 406 deaths, 94% of which resulted from aerial operations. At least 32,000 civilians have been killed, and 60,000 wounded in the last decade of Afghan war, the report noted.