The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Tuesday it has team in Dasht-e-Archi in Kunduz province assessing reports of mass civilian casualties sustained during Monday’s airstrike against a local madrassa.
UNAMA said on Twitter it is “actively looking in to disturbing reports of serious harm to civilians yesterday from airstrike at DashtiArchi, Kunduz. Human Rights team on ground establishing facts.”
The mission also reminded all parties of their obligations to protect civilians from the impact of armed conflict.
This comes after Dasht-e-Archi residents claimed on Monday night that at least 50 civilians were killed and 150 others wounded in Monday’s airstrike in the district.
The airstrike was carried out on Monday at about 11am.
According to the residents and some provincial council members, the airstrike was carried out by the Afghan Air Force (AAF) on a madrassa.
Government officials however said only Taliban members were killed and wounded in the airstrike.
According to officials, ANA targeted a madrassa in Dasht-e-Archi where a large gathering was being held by Taliban, who were planning an attack on the Afghan National Army in the district.
Officials said earlier in the day a high-ranking Taliban official from the Quetta Shura, Mullah Beryani, had also been present at the madrassa at the time of the airstrike.
Residents however said the gathering was not a Taliban meeting. According to them about 300 civilians were at the madrassa at the time of the airstrike.
Hospital officials in the province also said dozens of casualties had been brought to the hospital. They did not however give figures.
Two years ago extra security forces were deployed to Dasht-e-Archi district in Kunduz to clear the area of Taliban, but heavy clashes have been ongoing.