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Civilian causalities in Kunduz air raid


The Afghan Defense Ministry says Monday’s attack by the government air force on a Taliban meeting in Dasht-i-Archi district of Kunduz province, killed at least 18 fighters, including a senior commanders of the group Quetta Shura member Mawlavi Baryal. The Defense Ministry’s Deputy Spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said that the Afghan Air Force did not target civilians but Taliban members that opened fire on Afghan air force helicopters and then on civilians after the airstrike. Radmanish showed photographs and aerial footage of the targeted area, saying that people photographed were Taliban leaders and fighters. During the attack, civilians, including children, lost their lives so the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is investigating the incident amid reports of civilian casualties. UN said that UNAMA actively looking into disturbing reports of serious harm to civilians, adding that all parties have to respect the obligations to protect civilians from impact of armed conflict. The President’s office, meanwhile in a statement on Tuesday said that it has appointed a task team to investigate Monday’s airstrike in Dasht-e-Archi of Kunduz province. The assigned commission is headed by General Khudaidad Hazara, the Inspector General of the National Security Council, and include presidential advisors Tahir Safai and Sayed Sulaiman Hamid.

US Bombing Campaign in Afghanistan Intensifies, Hitting New High


The U.S. military dropped 555 bombs in Afghanistan against Taliban and Islamic State targets in August, the highest number in a single month since 2012. The U.S. has conducted about 2,400 airstrikes since the beginning of the year in support of Afghan partners battling the Taliban and IS terrorists, said U.S. Navy Captain Bill Salvin, spokesman for NATO’s Resolute Support mission in the country. The record increase in U.S. airstrikes comes as President Donald Trump last month unveiled his long-awaited new strategy for the 16-year-old Afghan war, the United States’ longest-running foreign military engagement. The Trump plan requires a modest troop surge and increased foreign airpower for Afghan forces so they could step up operations against the Taliban and IS loyalists, prompting concerns that intensified hostilities may cause more civilian casualties. The military “uplift” that President Trump announced, including increased airpower, has not had a significant direct impact as yet because most of it is in the process of coming into the (war) theater, said Salvin. Two American airstrikes in the last week of August killed at least 24 civilians and wounded 16 others, almost all of them women and children, according to a United Nations probe. The U.N. has already recorded a 43 percent rise in Afghan civilian casualties from aerial strikes in the first six months of 2017.

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