Amid growing concerns over civilian casualties in the latest Kunduz military operation, the presidential palace on Thursday night said in a statement that during a military operation on Wednesday night infiltrated residential areas and used people as human shields in the Boz Kandahari area of Kunduz leaving a number of women and children dead and wounded.
Kunduz police have so far confirmed three dead.
“President Ghani was shocked after hearing the news of the civilian death toll and directed the security and defense officials and Kunduz governor to take all necessary steps during operations to prevent civilian casualties,” the statement read.
The statement noted that Ghani has assigned a task team to probe the incident in order to implement the law against those who committed this inhumane act.
“The president also ordered Kunduz governor and other relevant security and civilian officials to ensure the delivery of necessary aid to the families of victims and make sure the best treatment is made available to those injured in the incident,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, former president Hamid Karzai has also condemned foreign troops for conducting air strikes on Afghan villages and towns.
“Former president has once again raised his deep concerns over the fatalities among the civilians in the result of air strikes carried out by the foreign forces where a number of women and children were killed,” the statement read.
“The former president reiterated that any attack under any pretext on villages and homes of Afghans is not acceptable,” the statement said.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that the number of civilian casualties in the area is much higher than the figure being announced by the security and government officials.
Security officials in the northern province of Kunduz said Thursday that the Afghan special forces and their foreign counterparts inflicted massive casualties to the Taliban insurgents after killing fourteen of them including a top commander.
At least 14 insurgents were killed in joint operations between Afghan special commandos and foreign troops’ airstrikes in northern Kunduz province on Wednesday night, police 808 Spinzar zone said in a statement earlier Thursday.
The operations and airstrikes were launched in Kandahari, Alchin, Mullah Sardar, Kalta Tay, Hazrat Sultan villages in Kunduz.
Ministry of Defense spokesman Dawlat Waziri confirmed Thursday that three Afghan commandos and two U.S Special Forces were killed in the military operation in Kunduz.
He said that a further seven commandos and two special forces members were wounded during the operation.
Resolute Support also confirmed the death of two of their service members.
In a press release issued Thursday afternoon RS commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John W. Nicholson, said: “Despite today’s tragic event, we are steadfast in our commitment to help our Afghan partners defend their nation.”
He said the service members came under fire during a train, advise and assist mission with Afghan partners to clear a Taliban position and disrupt the group’s operations in Kunduz district in Kunduz province.
Meanwhile a number of residents in Kunduz have said that more than twenty civilians were killed during the operation. But local officials have rejected the claims.
“All of the victims were women and children and there was no Taliban,” said a resident of Kunduz.
“They come to the village and took some pictures, but casualties are much higher,” said another resident.
Speaking on the civilian casualty toll in Kunduz, Brigadier General Charles Cleveland, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communication, Resolute Support said: “As part of an Afghan operation, friendly forces received direct fire and airstrikes were conducted to defend themselves. We take all allegations of civilian casualties very seriously.”