An Afghan man carries the dead body of a child following a NATO coalition airstrike on the outskirts of Kunduz on November 3, 2016. © Bashir Khan Safi / AFP

Scores of Civilians Killed in Alleged US Airstrikes to Support Ground Op in Kunduz, Afghanistan

Scores of civilians, including children, have reportedly been killed in US airstrikes supporting a ground operation in Kunduz, Afghanistan, officials and media report. NATO forces in Afghanistan said the airstrikes were “to defend friendly forces under fire.”

The attack that killed about 26 people was the same assault that resulted in the deaths of two US soldiers, AP reported, citing an Afghan police official.

Earlier, United States Forces Afghanistan released a statement, saying that two US servicemen had died “as a result of wounds sustained during operations” in Kunduz.

“The service members came under fire during a train, advise and assist mission with our Afghan partners to clear a Taliban position and disrupt the group’s operations in Kunduz district,” the statement said.

Brigadier General Charles Cleveland, a spokesman for the United States military in Afghanistan, said that he couldn’t comment if civilian deaths near Kunduz and the attack on the US soldiers were related. He added that the deceased American servicemen were sent as advisers to an Afghan military operation.

“We have no evidence at this point of any civilian casualties, but we take all allegations very seriously,” he said, as cited by the New York Times. “Although this was an Afghan operation advised by US forces, US aircraft were used to defend all of the friendly forces.”

According to Safiullah Amiri, a member of the Kunduz Provincial Council, at least 30 civilians were killed in the series of airstrikes on the village, the NYT reported. The paper also cited Islamuddin Timoori, a representative of the protesters from Kunduz, who said that the bombing was conducted by US and the attack resulted in 27 killed and 70 injured.

According to Pajhwok, “the airstrikes and ground offensive” were conducted by “Afghan and foreign forces” in the Pul Achin and Poz Kandahari areas on the outskirts of Kunduz.

“I was working on the farm land when suddenly the bombardment started in our area. When I came to my house seven members of my family, including women and children, were killed,” Kunduz resident Taza Gul told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Radio Free Afghanistan cited local officials, saying that an airstrike was carried out in the Burj Kandahari area on Kunduz’s outskirts.

Radio Free Afghanistan also reported that the airstrike had prompted Kunduz citizens to take to the streets in protest. The protesters reportedly were carrying the bodies of at least 20 people, including children, killed in the strike.

A reporter for the New York Times in Kabul tweeted that at least 30 civilians were killed and 26 civilians wounded as a result of airstrikes carried out by Afghan choppers, according to information from Kunduz’s governor.

In the meantime, Bilal Sarwary, a local journalist citing sources in Afghan government, reported that at least 31 civilians had been killed in an airstrike on Thursday night during an Afghan-NATO special forces operation.

Bilal Sarwary, citing Afghan government sources, tweeted that “Afghan and US Special forces were surrounded and were taking heavy fire when air strike was called.”

Photos of the corpses of the alleged victims are circulating on social media.

Source: RT

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