KUNDUZ, Afghanistan, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) — The death toll of civilians killed by NATO-led forces’ airstrikes in northern Afghanistan’s Kunduz province has risen to 31 with 17 others injured, the provincial government said on Friday.
“The latest figures showed that 31 civilians lost their lives and 17 others injured during the Thursday’s military operation and subsequent air raids conducted by foreign forces on outskirts of Kunduz city,” it said in a statement.
Among the victims were several women and children, the statement said, adding that an investigation has been going on into the incident and further details will be released afterwards.
On early Thursday, Afghan security forces conducted an operation in Buzi Kandahari village, outside provincial capital the Kunduz city, 250 km north of Kabul.
The NATO-led forces were also supporting the Afghan troops during the operation against the Taliban during which the local troops has called in airstrikes that inflected casualties among the residents, according to local officials.
Two U.S. troops, three Afghan soldiers and several militants were killed by the clashes.
The NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in a statement put on its twitter account on Thursday said, “Airstrikes were conducted in Kunduz to defend friendly forces under fire. All civilians casualty claims will be investigated.”
The Kunduz province and neighboring Baghlan and Takhar provinces have been the scene of heavy clashes over the past couple of months as Taliban has been trying to challenge the government forces in the once relatively peaceful region.
More than 2,560 civilians were killed and over 5,830 injured between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 this year in conflict-related incidents across Afghanistan, according to the latest figures released by UN mission in the country.
Ground engagements remained the largest cause of civilian casualties, followed by suicide attacks and improvised explosive device (IED) explosions.
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