WORLD UN mission confirms 13 Afghan civilians killed in foreign forces' airstrike

WORLD

UN mission confirms 13 Afghan civilians killed in foreign forces' airstrike

Xinhua

19:25, March 25, 2019

KABUL, March 25 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has confirmed that 13 civilians, mostly children, were killed following a NATO-led coalition forces' airstrike in northern Afghan province of Kunduz, the mission said on Monday.

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Men stand over bodies during a protest in Kunduz province north of Afghanistan, Saturday, Mar. 23, 2019. (Photo: AP)

"An airstrike conducted by international military forces on the night of Friday to Saturday in Kunduz in support of pro-Government forces on the ground killed 13 civilians and injured three more," said a UNAMA statement on its website.

The incident occurred during latest clashes and fighting in Talawka, a neighborhood on northern outskirts of provincial capital Kunduz city.

On Saturday, local officials told Xinhua that 10 civilians were killed and eight others injured during the sortie in the restive province. 

More than 90 militants, seven Afghan soldiers and two US troops have been killed and many soldiers and militants wounded during fighting in Talawka and neighboring Gul Tipa district within the past several days.

"UNAMA urges relevant authorities and parties involved in the airstrike to conduct their own enquiries into the incident and to take immediate steps to safeguard civilians from harm. Parties are urged to publish results of their findings, as well as provide appropriate compensation to victims," the statement added.

Earlier this month, two dozen civilians were killed and injured during military operations and airstrikes in three eastern Afghan provinces before Afghan President Ashraf Ghani instructed top Afghan military officials to take initiative in the battle field and prevent civilian casualties during military operations. 

The Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of armed conflicts as more than 3,800 civilians were killed and over 7,180 others injured in conflict-related incidents in 2018 in the war-torn country, according to UNAMA figures.

The mission has attributed 63 percent of the civilian casualties to the Taliban and other militant groups, 24 percent to security forces over the period while 10 percent were attributed to both sides during clashes and the rest three percent were caused by other reasons.

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