US vows to probe 33 civilian deaths after airstrike in Afghanistan

November 5, 2016 10:30 pm

In this photograph taken on September 29, 2016, an Afghan pilot stands next to a line of US-made MD-530 Helicopters in Kabul. (photo by AFP)

The commander of US forces in Afghanistan has promised an investigation into the recent death of more than 30 Afghan civilians, including women and children, in an airstrike.
General John Nicholson said Saturday that the airstrike on the village of Buz Kandahari, just outside the northern city of Kunduz on Thursday, would be probed.
Three Taliban leaders were supposed to be targeted in the raid, but the forces met “significant enemy fire from multiple locations” and called for help from a US aircraft, which left 33 civilians, including 17 children, dead.
“An initial investigation has determined that efforts near Kunduz on November 3 to defend Afghan National Defense and Security Forces likely resulted in civilian casualties,” Nicholson said in a statement. “We will work with our Afghan partners to investigate and determine the facts and we will work with the government of Afghanistan to provide assistance.”
The targets were high-ranking elements of the Takfiri group that were supposed to be hit in their houses, according to Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri.
“They weren’t ordinary people who had gathered. They were leading fighting in Kunduz. They were the commanders of their military commission,” Waziri said.
Taliban militants were removed from power following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, but they have stepped up their activities in recent months, attempting to overrun several provinces.
Afghan forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with Taliban to contain the ongoing insurgency across various parts of the violence-wrecked country.
The rising violence in Afghanistan comes despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops in the country.
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