KABUL, Afghanistan

Five civilians, including three children, were killed in an air raid by government forces in Helmand province, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said on Friday.

“Based on initial findings, a house was hit in an aerial raid on the Taliban in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand, killing five civilians, including three children, and injuring five others,” the group said in a statement.

Condemning the incident, AIHRC reiterated that war is not a solution and has no justification, and will only claim more innocent lives and cause further destruction in the country.

Attaullah Afghan, chairman of Helmand’s provincial council, told Anadolu Agency that all victims of the Wednesday night airstrike were members of a single family.

On Thursday, Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry confirmed that an aerial operation targeting Taliban insurgents was conducted on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah and promised to probe reports of civilian casualties.

This comes as the Taliban and Afghan government representatives are set to resume crucial talks in Qatar’s capital Doha on Saturday.

The talks, launched after last February’s landmark peace deal between the US and the Taliban, are aimed at ending a conflict that has lasted nearly two decades.

The peace negotiations, which have stalled time and again, have failed to curb civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

At least 2,117 civilians were killed and 3,822 more were injured in violence in the country between January and September last year, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

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