02:31 GMT +320 April 2018
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    An Afghan man inspects a house destroyed during an air strike called in to protect Afghan and U.S. forces during a raid on suspected Taliban militants, in Kunduz, Afghanistan. file photo

    US Military Admits to Killing of Over 30 Afghan Civilians in Kunduz Airstrikes

    © REUTERS / Nasir Wakif
    Asia & Pacific
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    US forces on Thursday admitted having accidentally killed over 30 Afghan civilians and injured 27 more in an airstrike in Afghanistan's Kunduz province last year.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In early November, the Kunduz government said US-led airstrikes killed some 30 civilians in the province as US and Afghan troops clashed with Taliban militants. Dozens more were injured. The NATO-led Resolute Support mission vowed to investigate the incident, initially stating that the airstrikes had been conducted in defense against Taliban fire.

    "U.S. Forces – Afghanistan completed its investigation into an allegation that civilian casualties were caused by U.S. and Afghan forces during a joint military operation in Boz Village, Kunduz, Nov. 2-3, 2016. The investigation determined, regretfully, that 33 civilians were killed and 27 wounded. To defend themselves and Afghan forces, U.S. forces returned fire in self-defense at Taliban who were using civilian houses as firing positions," U.S. Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A) said in a statement.

    US and Afghan forces, which had arrived to the area to capture Taliban leaders, were soon attacked by fighters taking positions in civilian buildings, the statement added, stressing that airstrikes were requested after casualties took place.

    No civilians were visible at the time, and casualties must have taken place inside building, as well as during an ammunition cache explosion which damaged several buildings.

    A total of two US troops and three Afghans were killed, and over a dozen troops were injured in the fighting, according to USFOR-A.

    The investigation also found that force deployed was the minimum required and thus complied with international law.

    "No further action will be taken because U.S. forces acted in self defense and followed all applicable law and policy," USFOR-A concluded.

    The Resolute Support mission, focused on training, advising and assisting Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, was launched on January 1, 2015.

    Afghanistan is in a state of political and social turmoil, with government forces fighting the continuing Taliban insurgency. The instability has persisted in the country since the 2001 US-led invasion to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

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    airstrike, 9/11, Taliban, al-Qaeda, Afghanistan, United States
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