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Witnesses Say Dozens Killed In Pakistani Air Strikes On Eastern Afghanistan Region

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Demonstrators take part in a protest in Khost on April 16 against Pakistani air strikes in the province overnight.

Witnesses say dozens of people, including women and children, have been killed in eastern Afghanistan by Pakistani air strikes.

The bombings took place overnight on April 16 in border areas in Khost Province, according to tribal elders and eyewitnesses.

Witnesses told Radio Mashaal that more than 30 civilians had died in the air strikes. The dpa news agency, quoting a local Taliban official, said at least 40 civilians had been killed.

Rasool Jan, a tribal elder in the Khost area, told Radio Mashaal that he was sitting at a dinner gathering when bombs fell on the residence and two other houses. All of the people killed or injured in the attacks were civilians, he added.

Pakistani refugees in Khost injured in air strikes, reportedly by Pakistani warplanes.
Pakistani refugees in Khost injured in air strikes, reportedly by Pakistani warplanes.

Tala Khan, a resident of Dakhel in North Waziristan, told Radio Mashaal that he was injured in the incident and that 30 members of his family were killed or wounded. He also said those killed were not militants but were all civilians.

In a statement on April 16, the Taliban Foreign Ministry said that “Amir Khan Mutaqqi, the acting foreign minister of the Taliban, has summoned the Pakistani ambassador and expressed his strong protest against the attacks."

Pakistani officials did not immediately respond to Radio Mashaal’s request for comment.

Tensions have risen in recent months along the two countries’ long border. Islamabad has alleged that extremist groups -- including the outlawed Tehrik-e Taliban (TTP) -- have been carrying out attacks inside Pakistan from Afghan territory.

Also known as the Pakistani Taliban, the TTP has increased its attacks in the northwest, targeting security forces over the past few months.

The Taliban, which took power in Afghanistan in August 2021, has denied it harbors Pakistani extremist groups.

On April 11, the TTP claimed responsibility for an attack that killed five police officers and wounded four others in a Pakistani area on the border with Afghanistan that was once the headquarters of the group.

On April 14, seven Pakistani soldiers were killed in an exchange of fire in the country’s restive North Waziristan tribal region.

A senior military official told Radio Mashaal that militants ambushed a military vehicle in the Dattakhel area.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the area is believed to be a stronghold of the Hafiz Gul Bahadar group of the TPP.

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