Afghan Officials Say Four Children, Three Women Killed In Air Strikes

Protesters closed the Jawzjan-Balkh highway to protest the civilian casualties in Balkh Province on January 26.

Afghan officials in the northern province of Balkh said at least seven civilians were killed in air strikes, prompting protests in front of the district governor's office.

Local officials said three women and four children were killed in the air strikes in the district of Balkh late on January 25.

Several hundred people blocked a key road in the district and gathered in front of the district governor's office, demanding an investigation.

Khyber Amiri, one of the organizers of the demonstration who spoke to RFE/RL, accused government forces of targeting the homes of "ordinary people and creating terror."

Afghan forces have been conducting ground attacks and air strikes in Balkh, which shares a border with Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.

The Defense Ministry said it was sending a fact-finding mission to investigate the reports of civilian deaths.

The ministry said it had conducted operations across the country against the Taliban during the last 24 hours, killing 51 militants.

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