At Least 70 Civilians Reported Killed in Afghan Air Strike

District Governor Puts Overall Toll at 130 as Furore Over Kunduz Attack Grows

Last Friday’s deadly US air strike in the Kunduz Province of Afghanistan killed 130 people, according to the district governor of the area, and the human rights group Afghan Rights Monitor says its survey reveals that 70 civilians were among the dead.

The strike, in which a US jet destroyed a pair of hijacked fuel tankers with a missile, causing a massive explosion in the village, has come under considerable scrutiny amid claims that the German commander who ordered the strike violated rules designed to prevent killing civilians. At the time of the attack the hijackers had brought the tankers to a village and invited locals to syphon fuel from them. Germany defended the attack saying the tankers might’ve been used to attack a nearby German base.

The attack was condemned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who claimed the tankers were immobilized in a riverbed at the time of the attacks and asked why the international forces didn’t try to reclaim the tankers with ground troops instead of lobbing missiles at them.

The Afghan government and NATO are both conducting probes into the attack, though Germany has hotly disputed the claims of both and insisted the killings were appropriate. The Taliban also released their own probe into the attack, providing the names of 79 civilians they said died.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.