People offer funeral prayers for a civilian who was killed by pro-government forces in Ali Sher district of Khost province, Afghanistan, Feb. 8, 2018. At least 11 civilians were believed to be killed by pro-government forces in two eastern provinces in Afghanistan, authorities and locals said Thursday. (Xinhua/Zaman Nzari)
KHOST, Afghanistan, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- At least 11 civilians were believed killed by pro-government forces in two eastern provinces in Afghanistan, authorities and locals said Thursday.
On Wednesday night, seven men were killed following a cordon operation in surrounding areas of Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province, deputy provincial Police Chief Abdul Hanan told Xinhua.
A local elder named Ali Jan told Xinhua that the killed were civilians and the raid was launched by pro-government militiamen, known as Campaign Forces that were believed to be associated with the U.S.-led coalition troops stationed in the province.
He said the victims had no links with the insurgents or anti-government militants.
Police chief Hanan said an investigation is still going on into the incident.
In eastern Ghazni province, four children were killed following an airstrike in Dih Yak district on Wednesday, provincial government spokesman Harif Noori confirmed to Xinhua.
The spokesman did not say whether the strike was launched by Afghan Air Forces or coalition forces.
The U.S.-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes in support of Afghan security forces since the end of 2014 when NATO and U.S. forces ended their combat mission in the country.
Afghan officials had in the past stressed deaths of civilians during operations would further undermine the war against Taliban and terrorist groups.
The Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of armed conflicts as more than 2,640 civilians were killed and over 5,370 others injured in the first nine months of 2017, according to figures released by the United Nations mission in the country.
The mission has attributed 64 percent of the civilian casualties to the Taliban and other insurgent groups, 20 percent to security forces over the period while 11 percent were attributed to both sides during clashes and the rest 5 percent were caused by other reasons.