Dozens of people are dead in eastern Afghanistan after an air strike against the Taliban led to the deaths of at least eight civilians and six militants.
Local officials are rummaging through the rubble in the Adraskan District to uncover who among the 45 people killed on Wednesday (local time) were civilians.
US forces in Afghanistan say they had not taken part in launching the two rounds of air strikes which, according to local news outlet Tolo News, killed the Taliban commanders for several districts in Herat city.
It reported that the commanders were planning to attack government bases in Herat at the time of the air strike.
It came months after the government freed 900 Taliban prisoners in exchange for dozens of hostages held by the insurgents.
At least eight civilians were killed in Wednesday’s air strikes, Adraskan district governor Ali Ahmad Faqir Yar said.
“Forty-five people had been killed so far in air strikes by security forces in the Kham Ziarat area. Taliban were among those killed,” he said on Wednesday.
It was unclear how many of the remaining 37 were civilians and how many were members of the Taliban.
Guzara district local official Habib Amini confirmed the incident and the death toll of 45, saying more were injured.
The US is winding back troop numbers under an agreement with the Taliban struck in February, which was meant to pave the way for formal peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government.
However, disagreement over the release of prisoners demanded by the Taliban and rising violence around the country have hampered progress, and talks have yet to start.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defence did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi said in a statement that two air strikes in the Herat province had killed eight civilians and wounded 12.
Two local officials confirmed there had been two rounds of air strikes.