A rocket fired during fighting between Afghan forces and insurgents killed at least 15 wedding guests late Wednesday in the southern province of Helmand, officials said, highlighting the continuing conflict after NATO’s combat mission ended.
Most of the victims were women and children in the attack in Helmand’s Sangin province, a Taliban stronghold where the US and British troops were involved in years of fierce fighting until the NATO withdrawal.
NATO’s war in Afghanistan formally ended on Sunday, when the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was replaced by the US-led follow-up mission “Resolute Support”, which will focus on training and assisting Afghan forces.
“At least 15 people were killed and 45 wounded when the rocket struck in a firefight between Afghan security forces and the Taliban,” said Fareed Ahmad Obaid, police spokesman for Helmand province.
Obaid said the victims had been attending a wedding at the time of the attack.
Karem Atal, head of Helmand`s provincial council, confirmed the incident and said the toll could rise after many of the guests were rushed to hospital in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital.