At least 40 civilians at a wedding party were killed Sunday night during a raid conducted by Afghan special forces and supported by US airstrikes on Taliban hideouts in the southern Helmand province, Afghan officials said. The violence has further rattled Afghanistan, which is facing an upsurge in violence after US-Taliban peace talks to end America's longest war collapsed earlier this month. Abdul Majed Akhund, deputy provincial councilman, said that the majority of the dead are women and children who were at a wedding ceremony that was taking place in Musa Qala district, the AP reports. Akhund said that 12 other civilians were wounded and are in the hospital in Lashkar Gah the capital of the province. There were conflicting reports on the numbers of killed and wounded from different sources as the area is under Taliban control.
Attahullah Afghan, head of the provincial council, said there were two separate raids in different areas of Musa Qala. The first operation killed six foreign fighters, while the second raid mistakenly hit civilians, he said. Akhund said authorities are investigating reports civilians attending a wedding died in the raid Sunday night in Musa Qala. Afghanistan's defense ministry in a statement said that as a result of the operations in Musa Qala district, 22 foreign members of the Taliban were killed and 14 arrested. The arrested terrorists include five Pakistani nationals and one Bangladeshi. "A large warehouse of the terrorists' supplies and equipment was also destroyed," the statement says.
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