Foreign Troops’ Air Raid Killed 13 Afghan Civilians, UN Says
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – At least 13 civilians, including 10 children, were killed in an airstrike by foreign troops in Afghanistan last week, the UN mission in Afghanistan confirmed on Monday.
“An airstrike conducted by international military forces on the night of Friday to Saturday in Kunduz in support of pro-government forces on the ground killed 13 civilians and injured three more,” UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement.
“The Mission expressed serious concern that initial fact-finding indicates that 10 of those killed were children, part of the same extended family whom were displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country,” the statement added, Anadolu Agency reported.
Carrying dead bodies, residents of Kunduz province on Saturday held a protest demonstration against the deadly airstrike.
Blaming the Taliban for deliberately hiding among civilians and spreading propaganda to hide their losses, the US Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A) had announced it was investigating the reports of civilian casualties in Kunduz.
Chanting slogans against the foreign troops, the evidently devastated protesters said the air raid targeted two residential homes where no insurgents were present.
According to the local Salam Afghanistan radio, this came a day after two US soldiers were killed during an anti-terrorism operation in the same vicinity.
Debra Richardson, spokeswoman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission, said in a statement the combined Afghan and coalition ground force was fired on by an unknown assailant at close range, and in self-defense the airstrikes were called, but no bombs were used.
“We will continue to judiciously and carefully deliver the military pressure necessary to enable a political solution here,” she added.
Kunduz has twice briefly fallen to the Taliban over the past couple of years.
With the record 3,804 civilians killed in Afghanistan conflict in 2018 -- a clear indicator of intensification of violence -- the UN last month underlined the urgent need to seize opportunities for peace there.
More civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict last year than at any time since records have been kept, according to a United Nations report released on Feb. 24 by the UNAMA and the UN Human Rights Office.
Among the dead were 927 children, the highest recorded number of boys and girls killed in the conflict during a single year.