At least 30 civilians and two American soldiers were killed while several others injured in an airstrike near Afghanistan’s Kunduz on Thursday, The New York Times has reported. The civilians were killed amidst the exchange of fire between American troops and Taliban forces, according to Reuters.
The air raids on Thursday were in support of the US and Afghan forces during an attack targeting senior Taliban commanders, according to provincial spokesman Mahmood Danish.
Rueters said the deaths were a result of fighting that took place on Wednesday night in Buz Kandahari village, into which Taliban militants gained entry in October. Several civilians protested against the deaths and carried the bodies of the victims into Kunduz city.
United States Military spokesperson in Afghanistan Brigadier General Charles Cleveland said the American soldiers were in the Kunduz district as “advisers to an Afghan military operation”, the Times reported. While the US combat mission against the Taliban concluded in 2014, several special forces units have repeatedly engaged in fighting while assisting Afghan troops.
While the security forces ensured that the city of Kunduz was secure, Taliban forces almost took over the city in October, a year after temporarily gaining control of the area. According to Reuters, Afghan forces have lost over 5,500 personnel in the violence this year.