Witnesses are reporting a large number of civilians were killed in the Kunduz Province of northern Afghanistan Monday, following an attack by the Afghan military. The attack hit a mosque attached to a religious school, and at least 70 people were killed.
Reportedly, the attack came during a large ceremony to recognize graduates of the school and to appoint new mullahs for the religious school. Around 1,000 people were in attendance, and there was speculation that some local Taliban figures were present.
The district governor, Nasruddin Saadi, said that there were armed militants present at the religious event, and that this was the reason security forces decided to attack. This was apparently done irrespective of civilian danger.
The Afghan Defense Ministry told a totally different story, in keeping with their attempts to manage the narrative on big events. The ministry insists the mosque rally wasn’t religious in nature, and that it was Taliban forces massing for a sneak attack.
Despite a number of small children and other obvious civilians being slain, the Defense Ministry insisted everyone killed was a terrorist. They also insisted that only 21 people were killed, despite everyone else reporting at least 70.