Local officials on Sunday confirmed civilian casualties in an airstrike in the northern province of Kunduz that happened on Saturday.
Kunduz governor’s spokesman Esmatullah Muradi said that 20 people, including Taliban fighters and civilians, were killed and 15 others were wounded in the airstrike in Khan Abad district, but he did not give a breakdown of civilians and combatants among the casualties.
“With regret, civilians were martyred and wounded in the airstrike. Some houses have also been damaged. Intelligence institutions have been assigned to probe the incident,” Muradi said.
Some residents of Khan Abad district, which has been volatile recently, took some of the victims to the hospital. They said the airstrike was conducted in Nekpai village in Khan Abad district on Saturday afternoon. The airstrike, the residents said, targeted Taliban fighters who were stationed in the village.
“The bomb hit a civilian house. People were busy trying to contain the fire in the house when a second bomb hit it,” said a resident of Khan Abad district.
“(The airstrike) targeted the Faizani stronghold. Elders had asked the Taliban many times to evacuate the house that belonged to the commander Yusuf, but it was not evacuated. Ultimately, the village was heavily damaged,” said a Khan Abad district resident.
The Defense Ministry in a statement said 30 Taliban fighters were killed and eight others were wounded in the airstrike, adding that the civilian casualties’ claims will be investigated.
The provincial office of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission called on the warring parties to prevent such incidents.
“The anti-government armed militants should not use civilian houses as shields. Meanwhile, we expect the government to ensure accuracy and caution in their operations,” said Sayed Hafizullah Fitrat, head of the office of the commission for the northeast zone.
On Friday, an outpost of Afghan forces fell to the Taliban after the group attacked in Khan Abad district. Local residents said the districts closest to the center of Kunduz have been insecure recently.