Afghan Airstrikes Kill 24 Civilians in Attack on Taliban House

Civilians killed when trying to put out the fire caused by the attack

Amid a push for a ceasefire in Afghanistan, the Afghan military carried out airstrikes in Kunduz Province, targeting a home belonging to a Taliban member, killing 24 civilians and wounding six others.

The initial airstrike hit the targeted house and a nearby one, starting fires and trapping some civilians within. When civilians from the neighborhood flocked to the homes to try to put out the fire, a second airstrike was launched, killing many of them.

The Afghan Defense Ministry initially claimed over 40 Taliban killed and no civilians, but now is promising an “investigation.” Local MPs confirmed civilian deaths, and provincial officials said at least 12 civilians were confirmed slain, and it was likely more.

The Taliban did not confirm any casualties among their fighters, suggesting that the deaths were largely civilians. There had been fighting in Kunduz in recent weeks, and concern that the Taliban might once again contest control over the northern city.

This was a bad timing for the airstrike, however, as the Afghan government had been pushing for a ceasefire, and complaining about Taliban offensives. Though the Taliban has carried out some attacks, they have not caused civilian casualties in such numbers.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.