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NATO bombing kills five schoolboys in Afghanistan

Kabul: Five schoolboys were killed in a NATO airstrike in Parwan province in eastern Afghanistan, an Afghan police source told Efe news agency, but the incident could not be immediately confirmed by the international alliance.

The victims, aged between 16 and 19, were playing volleyball in Seyagard district when the bombing took place Wednesday, according to the police chief for Parwan province, Muhammad Zaman Mamozai. He added that a team had been sent to the area to investigate.

A NATO spokesperson in Afghanistan declined to comment to Efe on the alleged incident but a representative of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) told local AIP news agency that an airstrike in the area killed five insurgents Wednesday.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid criticised the attack in a statement.

“American troops bombed a volleyball playground in which five children were killed,” he said, adding that the victims were between the ages of 13 and 18.

The Taliban is often known to provide incorrect information regarding their actions or that of the international and Afghan troops.

Even so, bombings by international forces in Afghanistan are very controversial, especially on account of collateral civilian casualties.

Amnesty International recently criticised the almost total absence of judicial due process guarantees and responsibility of NATO troops implicated in the deaths of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan finds itself in one of its bloodiest moments since the US-led invasion of October 2001, which brought about the fall of the Taliban regime.

The NATO-led force’s mission will conclude at the end of this month, but the US intends to keep around 10,800 soldiers in the country until 2024.

The Atlantic alliance will maintain between 3,000 and 4,000 soldiers in their new role, from 2015 onwards, of training and equipping the local Afghan forces.