USA air attacks in May on Afghan drug labs killed 30 civilians

19 2012 shows an Afghan policeman standing guard as a pile of narcotics is burned by officials on the outskirts of Jalalabad Nangarhar province. The United Nations said in November that opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan

Furthermore, the U.S. Military said "The precision strikes against Taliban methamphetamine labs and Taliban combatants in the early hours of May 5, 2019 accurately targeted and struck sources of Taliban revenues used to fund ongoing indiscriminate violence against innocent Afghans - such as auto bombs, rockets and roadside explosives which killed schoolchildren and families". USFOR-A is concerned by the way UNAMA reached its conclusions and disagrees with their mischaracterization of the Taliban in methamphetamine production facilities; their reliance on sources with conflicted motives or limited knowledge (including the Taliban propaganda website "Voice of Jihad"); and their narrow definition of legally targetable combatants. "They were therefore entitled to protection from attack, and could only have lost this protection if, and for such time, as they had been directly participating in hostilities".

The agency also said that they had obtained "credible information" about an additional 30 deaths, mostly women and children, and that they trying to verify the claims. Seventeen men among the 39 casualties worked in the methamphetamine labs, it said.

The US, however, insisted the labs were run and owned by the Taliban, who used revenue to "fund ongoing indiscriminate violence against innocent Afghans".

The report says the multiple strikes, which targeted more than 60 sites the U.S. forces identified as drug production facilities, killed at least 30 civilians and injured five.

The mission says it will ask the U.S. military to conduct an independent investigation.

"The report, jointly produced by UNAMA and the U.N. Human Rights Office, concludes that drug facilities and associated workers may not be lawfully made the target of attack and should be protected", UNAMA said.

U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, which carried out the airstrikes, disputed the United Nations' findings.

"USFOR-A took extraordinary measures to avoid the deaths or injuries of non-combatants". In response to the incident, the United Nations urged USFOR-A to cease air strikes targeting Afghan drug labs and to conduct an independent investigation.

The prevention of civilian casualties is a priority, but when they happen, they are due to the Taliban sheltering among civilians, said Rohullah Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the Afghan defense ministry, adding he was not speaking about this specific situation.

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