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Khalilzad condemned Afghan airstrike in Herat

The US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted on Thursday morning that the last 24 hours have been “very violent” with “many losing their lives.”

Khalilzad condemned the Afghan airstrike in Herat, saying photos and eyewitness accounts suggest “many civilians including children” were killed.

“The Afghan people want an immediate start of peace negotiations and a settlement that is in their best interest.

More graves will not bring negotiations forward,” Khalilzad said

He said: “We urge all sides to contain the violence, protect civilians, and show necessary restraint as the start of intra-Afghan negotiations is so close.”

On Wednesday, at least six Taliban local commanders were killed in an airstrike in Herat province, the governor’s office said, and others were wounded.

Jelani Farhad, the governor’s spokesman, said that the strike was conducted in the Zeyart Kham area of Guzara district of Herat province.

Based on preliminary information, those reported killed were: “Abdullah Akbari, Mawolavi Haidar, Mullah Rahmatullah, Zabiullah Akbari, Mullah Mohammad–known as Idres–and Mullah Abdulhaq–known us Osama,” who were said to be the Taliban local commanders for Guzara, Adraksan, and Pashton Zarghon districts of Herat province.

According to Farhad, the commanders were gathered and making plans to attack government installations and to conduct attacks in Herat city, when they were targeted in the airstrike.

Several other Taliban were also wounded in the strike and also their weapon caches were destroyed, Farhad said.

Meanwhile, the residents claim that at least eight civilians were killed and nearly 20 others were wounded in the airstrike attack, which they say targeted a wedding party.

A number of witnesses and wounded in the incident say that aircraft also targeted those who were fleeing the area after bombing the wedding ceremony.

Women and children are also among the dead and wounded, residents said.

The Taliban said in a statement that civilians have been killed in the attack.