By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – An air raid in southern Afghanistan killed at least 14 civilians in the restive Helmand province, local officials confirmed on Monday.
Abdul Majeed, a member of the provincial council, told Anadolu Agency the incident took place in the Musa Qala district controlled by the Taliban.
He said the insurgents, fleeing a ground offensive of the security forces, attempted to hide in a group of civilians who were returning from a late Sunday night wedding ceremony when the aerial bombing hit them.
Majeed feared the death toll could further surge.
Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry said in a statement that at least 22 foreign Taliban fighters were killed, while 14 others, including five Pakistani and one Bangladeshi citizen, were arrested and a Taliban weapons’ cache was destroyed.
The ministry said it was investigating the report of civilian casualties and will share their findings with the media.
Umer Zwak, a spokesman for the provincial governor, confirmed civilian casualties, but shared no details of the toll while promising a probe.
Helmand remains as one of the most insecure provinces in Afghanistan, with militants controlling some swaths of land.
Recently, Afghan forces backed by the U.S. air forces managed to reclaim some territory from the Taliban, resulting in deadly clashes in various parts of the country, claiming many lives on all sides.