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AFP
July 1, 2020

UN blames Afghan forces for deadly market shelling

World

AFP
July 1, 2020

KABUL: The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Tuesday blamed Afghan forces for firing mortar shells that struck a busy market in a southern province, killing at least 23 civilians.

The Monday morning explosions came as the Taliban and the Afghan government are expected to launch much delayed peace talks aimed at ending the country´s nearly two-decade-old war.

“UNAMA´s initial impartial findings indicate Afghan National Army mortars inflicted heavy civilian casualties Monday,” the mission said on Twitter. “Multiple credible sources assert that the ANA fired lethal mortars in response to Taliban fire, missing intended target.

Afghan officials had previously blamed the Taliban for the explosions in the Sangin district of Helmand province, with President Ashraf Ghani condemning the incident as a “terrorist attack”. The UN mission called on the Afghan government to set up an independent investigation and urged both the Taliban and government forces to stop fighting in civilian areas.