Ghani, Abdullah order probe into Sangin incident


KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday ordered an investigation into a rocket fire that killed and wounded several people attending a wedding party in southern Helmand province.
Local officials said mortars fired by Afghan military hit a house, where a marriage ceremony was taking place, in the Mian Rodi village of the Sangin district late on Friday, killing 26 people and injuring 45 others, mostly women and children.
A statement from the President Spokesman’s office said President Ghani was shocked over the incident that resulted from a clash between security forces and insurgents.
The president ordered an investigation into the incident and reporting the findings to his office, the statement said.
A delegation, led by the governor of Helmand, had reached the area for investigation. Ghani directed the investigation team to provide emergency assistance to the bereaved family and ensure the injured were given proper attention.
The president also directed the ministries of defence and interior to send a high-powered delegation to the area to closely investigate the painful incident.
Ghani expressed his deep condolences to the affected family and prayed for early recovery of the injured.
Meanwhile, a statement from Abdullah’s office said the enemies of Afghanistan had fired rockets at a wedding party, killing 21 people and injuring more 60.
It quoted Abdullah as saying: “My heart goes out for the victims, I strongly condemn this attack. The unity government would seriously and deeply investigate it.”
Former president Karzai also issued a statement calling for the incident to be thoroughly investigated.
“I strongly condemn this inhumane attack and hope the perpetrators will be exposed soon and severally punished under the law.”
A protest rally was also carried out Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand. The rally participants asked the president to investigate the incident.
Civil and military officials in Helmand said an investigation team had been sent to the area.
Helmand deputy police chief Bacha Gul said the rocket strike late Wednesday appeared to have been fired from an army checkpoint near the house as guests waited for the bride to arrive.
Gul said the investigation focused on whether the soldiers were engaged in a firefight with Taliban insurgents at the time or they fired the rockets arbitrarily.
Sangin has been the scene of fighting between government forces and Taliban for the past six months.


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