U.S. air strikes kill a dozen Afghans, battle intensifies in Taliban strongholds

U.S. air strikes kill a dozen Afghans, battle intensifies in Taliban strongholds

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement confirmed that based on their initial findings, at least 13 civilians were killed in an airstrike conducted by global military forces on Friday night in Kunduz province in support of pro-Government forces on the ground.

The bodies were brought into Kunduz city in the back of a truck as part of protests by dozens of civilians.

The Taliban control much of the province and frequently target government officials and the security forces.

Child casualties from airstrike have also increased every year since 2014.

Sgt. Debra Richardson, spokeswoman for the Nato-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, said it is aware of the civilian casualty reports, adding that the mission reviews all credible allegations.

Resolute Support, comprising troops from 39 countries, trains, advises and assists Afghan security forces.

The New York Times reported earlier that the air strikes that killed civilians followed a firefight between United States and Afghan soldiers that had been provoked by a Taliban working inside Afghan forces.

An air strike was then conducted on a Taliban compound, one of a number that day, she said.

U.S. air strikes kill a dozen Afghans, battle intensifies in Taliban strongholds
U.S. air strikes kill a dozen Afghans, battle intensifies in Taliban strongholds

According to informed military sources, Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in Zankhan district of Ghazni province in the past 24 hours killing 9 Taliban fighters.

The deaths come as ordinary Afghans continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, with more civilians killed in the Afghan war in 2018 than during any other year on record, according to a United Nations report, with more than 500 killed by "aerial operations for the first time on record".

On March 22, two American service members were killed during an operation in Kunduz Province.

Fighting has accelerated during a period of recurring peace talks.

"The incident occurred in the Telawka neighbourhood close to Kunduz city during operations conducted by pro-government forces against Taliban in the area", the statement said.

An Afghan official says a twin bombing at a public ceremony attended by local officials in the southern Helmand province has killed three people and wounded a dozen others.

A day earlier, the Taliban attacked two Afghan outposts in Sangin, killing 48 Afghan security personnel, said Hashim Alokozay, a Helmand member of parliament.

Omar Zwak, spokesman for Helmand's governor, said the Taliban also suffered heavy casualties.

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