26 civilians dead in Afghan raid that killed two US troops
Published 03/11/2016 | 10:06
At least 26 civilians are dead after an assault that killed two US service members in Afghanistan, officials say.
Gen Qasim Jangalbagh of Kunduz province said some of the dead after the assault on Thursday included members of a Taliban fighter's family.
Gen Jangalbagh said the raid by US and Afghan forces killed 65 Taliban fighters, including two commanders for the insurgency.
Nato earlier announced the killing of two US service members and the wounding of two others in the raid.
Both Nato and the Pentagon declined to immediately give further details about the operation or discuss the civilian casualties.
Nato's combat operations ended in Afghanistan at the end of 2014, a move that put Afghan forces in charge of the country's security.
"Today's loss is heartbreaking and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of our service members who lost their lives today," Gen John W Nicholson, commander of US Forces-Afghanistan, said in a statement.
Kunduz official Mohammad Yousf Ayoubi and parliament member Malim Chari both said that civilians were killed in the fighting, though they had few details.
Dr Mohammad Naim Mangal, the director of a Kunduz hospital, said his facility received the bodies of a dead man and a child and treated 30 people, including children, wounded in the fighting.
A Taliban statement also said there were civilian casualties while claiming its fighters killed 16 US troops. The insurgents often exaggerate their battlefield successes.
Taliban fighters briefly overran the city of Kunduz, the provincial capital with the same name, in early October, a show of strength by the insurgents that also highlighted the troubles facing local Afghan forces 15 years after the US-led invasion of the country.
The Taliban captured and held parts of Kunduz a year earlier as well before the city was fully liberated weeks later with the help of U.S. airstrikes.
Those 2015 airstrikes also saw a US Air Force special operations AC-130 gunship attack a Kunduz hospital run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, killing 42 people.
Sixteen US military personnel, including a two-star general, later were disciplined for what American officials described as mistakes that led the strike.
Doctors Without Borders has called the attack a war crime and demanded an independent investigation.
There have been at least other four combat deaths among American forces in Afghanistan in 2016.
In October, a US soldier was killed by a bomb in Nangarhar province while another was shot dead by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform in Kabul.
In August, an American soldier was killed and another wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan' southern Helmand province.
In January, a US soldier was killed by small arms fire in Helmand.