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Airstrikes kill over 30 people in Afghan province of Ghazni

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows a US F-16 from the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan on January 9, 2017. (Photo by the Washington Post)

A series of airstrikes have claimed the lives of more than 30 people in southeast Afghanistan amid a spike in civilian deaths from aerial attacks.

Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the casualties were caused after the air raids targeted a "base" belonging to the militants in Ghazni province a day earlier. 

The ministry did not specify who carried out the airstrikes. However, Ghazni governor's spokesman Mohammed Aref Noori said the strikes had been carried out by US forces.

Civilian casualties from aerial attacks conducted by US forces have surged across Afghanistan over the past few months.

A US airstrike in November last year killed at least 30 civilians, including children and women, in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand.

The United States has recently stepped up its air raids in an attempt to exert pressure on the Taliban to accept a negotiated end to its 18-year insurgency.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan recorded 649 civilians casualties as a result of aerial attacks in the first nine months of last year, the highest number in any year since systematic recording began in 2009.

The US, along with a number of fellow-NATO members, invaded Afghanistan in 2001, toppling the Taliban but it has failed to restore security in a country plagued by militancy and terrorism.

The administration of US President Donald Trump is now negotiating with the Taliban group, excluding the Kabul government.

Over 8,000 people lost their lives or were wounded in Afghanistan between January and September last year, making the country deadlier than Syria in 2018.

Taliban’s five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an end in the wake of a US-led invasion in 2001, but the militant group still continues to attack government and civilian targets as well as foreign forces.

The US forces, meanwhile, have remained bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump.

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