At least 30 Afghan civilians, including women and children, have lost their lives in Afghanistan in an airstrike carried out by the so-called US-led military alliance in the country’s volatile north.
Local Afghan officials said more than two dozen civilians were also injured in the aerial assault which took place in the northern province of Kunduz on Thursday.
“Afghan forces and coalition troops conducted a joint operation against the Taliban insurgents. In the bombardment, 30 Afghan civilians were martyred and 25 others were wounded,” media outlets quoted provincial spokesman, Mahmood Danish, as saying.
Airstrike sparks anti-US protest rally
Following the deadly airstrike, dozens of the relatives of those killed in the US-led raid staged a demonstration outside the governor’s office in Kunduz to condemn the attack as they were carrying the bodies of the victims.
“I am heartbroken. I have lost seven members of my family. I want to know, why these innocent children were killed? Were they Taliban?” said Taza Gul, a 55-year-old laborer, adding, “No, they were innocent children.”
Afghan government forces are engaged in fierce fighting against the militants in and around Kunduz.
Taliban militants briefly overran the city of Kunduz, the provincial capital with the same name, in early October. They had briefly seized control of the city a year earlier but they were pushed out of Kunduz weeks later. They now seek to gain full control over the city.
Taliban militants were removed from power following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, but they have stepped up their activities in recent months, attempting to overrun several provinces.
Afghan forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with Taliban to contain the ongoing insurgency across various parts of the violence-wrecked country.
The rising violence in Afghanistan comes despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops in the country.