The United Nations has launched an investigation into a recent incident in which over 30 civilians were killed in a US airstrike in northern Afghanistan.
According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Sunday, at least 32 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed and 19 others injured in the US airstrike on Buz Kandahari near Kunduz on Thursday.
UNAMA added that in the last week alone around 100 civilians have been killed and 111 more injured in the country.
“The loss of civilian life is unacceptable and undermines efforts toward building peace and stability in Afghanistan,” said the secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto.
“When conducting aerial operations, international military forces should take all feasible measures to minimize civilian harm, including full analysis of the context for aerial strikes,” he added.
On Saturday, Washington accepted that the civilians had most probably been killed in a US strike called by a special forces team engaged in a raid on suspected Taliban militants, and vowed to launch an investigation into the incident.
Three Taliban leaders were supposed to be targeted in the raid, but the forces met “significant enemy fire from multiple locations” and called for help from a US aircraft, said General John Nicholson.
The Taliban militants were removed from power following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, but they have stepped up their activities in recent months, attempting to overrun several provinces.
Afghan forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with Taliban to contain the ongoing insurgency across various parts of the violence-wrecked country.
The rising violence in Afghanistan comes despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops in the country.