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Afghanistan: UN confirms 14 civilian casualties in Kunduz in US airstrike

9th Nov 2017
Afghanistan: UN confirms 14 civilian casualties in Kunduz in US airstrike

By Shadi Khan Saif

 

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – The UN mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday said it has credible evidence that civilians were killed in a U.S. air raid in northern Kunduz province last week.

UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) noted in a series of tweets that its initial findings and credible reports proved that at least 10 civilians got killed in Kunduz on Nov. 4. Khosh Mohammad, a Kunduz provincial assembly member, informed Anadolu Agency that at least 14 civilians were killed in US airstrike.

“Accounts indicate victims were civilians forced by AGEs (Anti-government elements) to retrieve bodies from earlier fighting… UN interviews’ with multiple survivors, medics, elders and others give strong reason to believe civilians among victims,” it stated.

On Tuesday, the United States Forces – Afghanistan categorically rejected any civilian casualties in the restive province’s Chahar Dara district.

“United States Forces – Afghanistan has investigated allegations of civilian casualties in Kunduz province during the period of November 3 and 4; no evidence of civilian casualties has been found,” the statement issued by the American forces said.

“We can confirm operations occurred in this area and numerous enemy combatants were killed, as also confirmed by Kunduz Governor Omarkhail and Ministry of Defense Spokesman Major General Dawlat Waziri,” it added.

Meanwhile, a number of local officials contacted by Anadolu Agency claimed the Taliban militants had forced the locals to collect bodies of their fighters from a site of U.S. drone strike, and when the civilians reached the spot, another strike took place killing a number of civilians.

Khosh Mohammad, a Kunduz provincial assembly member, informed Anadolu Agency that at least 14 civilians were killed in an airstrike by the U.S. troops.

In August, two American counterinsurgency airstrikes in Afghanistan killed at least 28 civilians and injured 16 others, all women and children, the United Nations said.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) warned it already had recorded a 43 percent rise in civilian casualties, including 95 deaths, from aerial operations during the first six months of 2017, with a substantial increase in deaths of women and children.

The UN Mission noted in its assessment of the situation that the UNAMA provides authoritative and impartial reports of conflict’s impact on civilians in Afghanistan.

There is an evident surge in U.S. airstrikes following the announcement of the new war strategy by President Donald Trump.

The U.S. Forces in Afghanistan carried out up to 751 airstrikes in the month of September alone, according to a U.S. Air Forces Central Command report.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Archive Photo: US bombing casualties in hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif Region Hospital in Balkh on 4 October 2015. Photographer: Syed Khodaberdi Sadat/AA]

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