US air strikes on alleged Taliban drug labs in western Afghanistan killed at least 30 civilians, including children, according to the United Nations.
The UN stated it had credible reports of an additional 30 deaths in the May strikes but had not confirmed them.
The US said it had actually targeted Taliban-run methamphetamine labs which assisted money the militant group.
However according to the UN, drug laboratories and associated employees can not lawfully be designated as targets.
United States forces hit more than 60 alleged drug production sites in Farah Province and neighbouring Nimroz Province in the strikes on 5 May.
A UN delegation that checked out the website of the attacks and carried out face-to-face interviews with residents concluded that there were 39 validated casualties – including 14 children – of whom 30 died.
The UN said it had actually likewise found trustworthy evidence of a minimum of 30 more deaths, the majority of whom it said were females and kids.
According to the UN report, the websites were not exclusively run by Taliban however also by ordinary criminal networks too – making them invalid targets for military strikes.
” While some of the websites may have been connected with illicit activity, they did not fulfill the meaning of legitimate military goals under worldwide law,” the report concluded.
Workers at the alleged laboratories “were not performing battle functions”, it said, and “were for that reason entitled to protection from attack”.
A representative for the US forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) rejected that the strikes had actually caused any civilian casualties, firmly insisting that the United States had actually performed “accuracy” strikes on what it understood to be Taliban methamphetamine laboratories.
” In addition to imagery collection during the precision strikes, USFOR-A carried out extensive assessments of the facilities and surrounding areas after the strikes,” the spokesperson stated.
The United States spent much of the war attempting to ruin Afghanistan’s opium trade – spending as much as $1.5 m (₤ 1.15 m) a day in between 2001 and 2018 targeting poppy fields and associated production centers.
A year-long battle project dubbed “Operation Iron Tempest” involved some 200 strikes versus heroin laboratories at the heart of the Taliban’s $200 m-a-year opium trade organisation.
However according to research performed by the London School of Economics, the multimillion-dollar project had a negligible result on the Taliban’s heroin operation. The lead researcher, Dr David Mansfield, informed the BBC in April that the United States put millions of dollars into bombing bit more than improvised laboratories in mud huts which could be right away rebuilded.