Explosion In Helmand Leaves 11 Dead

A relatively heavy explosion was heard in Lashkargah city in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan.

Provincial public health officials earlier said at least 11 people were killed and more than 20 others were wounded in the attack.

"With that said, we have no evidence that civilians were killed in these strikes, rather just claims from the Taliban that civilians were killed as a result of our strikes in Sangin [town in Helmand]", Cleveland added. Two women and three children were among the wounded, Mohammad Karim Atal, head of the Helmand provincial council, said.

The Taliban ruled out civilian casualties in a statement on their website, claiming that 21 Afghan army soldiers had been killed.

The insurgents were planning to launch a major attack on Sanging district.

In the meantime, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it was looking into "reports of civilian casualties" "from airstrikes" in Sangin.

USA military spokesman Captain Bill Salvin said that US jets had conducted strikes in Sangin in the past few weeks.

Lashkar Gah - one of the last government-held enclaves - also risks falling to the Taliban's repeated ferocious assaults. Thousands of civilians have fled the province in recent months due to growing insecurity.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officially ended its combat mission in December 2014, but the Marines will return to train and advise Afghan soldiers and police officers fighting the Taliban, said US Central Command.

  • Leroy Wright