Afghans protest civilian deaths in alleged US air raid

25th Mar 2019
Afghans protest civilian deaths in alleged US air raid

By Shadi Khan Saif

 

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA): Carrying dead bodies, residents of Afghanistan’s Kunduz province on Saturday protested a deadly air raid in the war-ravaged country allegedly committed but denied by U.S. forces.

Accusing the the Taliban of deliberately hiding among civilians and spreading propaganda to hide their losses, the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) has said it is investigating the reported civilian deaths.

But Kunduz residents said the Friday night air raid killed 13 civilians, including women and children, in the province’s Tolaka area.

Chanting slogans against the foreign troops, the evidently devastated protesters said the air raid targeted two residential homes where no insurgents were present.

The allegations come a day after two U.S. 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 that a 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.

Over the past two years Kunduz has twice fallen briefly to the Taliban.

With a record 3,804 civilians killed in Afghanistan conflict in 2018 — a clear indicator of stepped-up violence — the UN last month urged the need to seize opportunities for peace.

Among the dead were 927 children, the highest recorded number of boys and girls killed in the conflict during a single year.

[Map of Afghanistan By Tooby/Public Domain]

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