U.S. denies report civilians killed in airstrikes on Taliban meth labs

Kabul, Afghanistan — At least 30 civilians were killed when the US bombed several drug-making facilities in western Afghanistan in May, a UN agency said in a report Wednesday, though the US military immediately disputed the findings.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) conducted an investigation over four months looking into what happened May 5 when the US military bombed dozens of sites it had identified as Taliban methamphetamine labs.

In a statement, UNAMA said it had “verified 39 civilian casualties (30 deaths, five injured and four undetermined), including 14 children and one woman, due to the 5 May airstrikes”.

The agency went on to say that it had also received “credible information” about an additional 30 deaths — mostly women and children — and was working to further verify these claims.

US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) blasted the UNAMA findings, questioned the agency’s methodology and insisted its “precision” strikes had accurately targeted meth labs.

“In addition to imagery collection during the precision strikes, USFOR-A conducted exhaustive assessments of the facilities and surrounding areas after the strikes,” the command said in a statement.

“Combined assessments determined the strikes did not cause deaths or injuries to non-combatants.”

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