US airstrikes kill a dozen Afghan civilians, as battle with Taliban heats up – report
American airstrikes have killed around a dozen Afghan civilians in the northern province of Kunduz, local officials have said. The strikes came as US-backed Afghan forces and Taliban militants vie for control of the area.
One provincial councillor put the death toll at twelve, while another estimated that 13 civilians died, including children, in Saturdays strikes. NATO spokeswoman Sergeant. Debra Richardson told Reuters that the alliances Resolute Support mission is aware of the casualty reports, and that it investigates all such credible allegations.
“We take every measure to prevent civilian casualties, in contrast to the Taliban who intentionally hide behind women and children,” Richardson said in a statement.
<a href="https://www.rt.com/news/453652-us-withdrawal-afghanistan-taliban/" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank"> <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2019.03/xxs/5c87f9dbfc7e93e7508b45f0.JPG" alt="Taliban fighters in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, June 2018."/> </a>
Afghan and coalition forces have been locked in intense combat with the Taliban in Kunduz and Helmand provinces recently, despite ongoing peace talks in Qatar between the Taliban and the US. Afghan and US forces fought the Taliban in Kunduz for over 30 hours on Friday and Saturday, Richardson said, during which time the airstrike took place. Two US soldiers were killed in the fighting, while four Afghan soldiers lost their lives, according to Reuters.
In the southern province of Helmand, the situation was equally dire over the weekend. Taliban attacks in Helmands Sangin district killed as many as 65 Afghan troops and police officers between Friday and Saturday, local politicians told the New York Times. However, precise casualty figures are difficult to ascertain.
Amidst the chaos, the Taliban has re-emerged as a formidable opponent. A report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, released in January, found that the Afghan government now controls only half of the countrys 407 districts, a drop of two percentage points since last summerRead More