US Military: 33 Civilians Killed During Strike on Taliban

Pentagon conducts investigation after mass casualties
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 12, 2017 6:56 AM CST
US Military: 33 Civilians Killed During Strike on Taliban
In this Nov. 4, 2016, file photo, Afghan villagers gather around several victims' bodies in Buz-e Kandahari village in Kunduz province, Afghanistan.   (Najim Rahim)

The US military's investigation into a November firefight with the Taliban has shown that 33 civilians died in the raid during which American troops fired on Afghan homes, reports the AP. The inquiry followed claims that civilian deaths resulted from airstrikes called in to support Afghan and US forces who came under fire in the northern village of Buz-e Kandahari. Two senior Taliban figures, responsible for violence in Kunduz the previous month, were killed in the operation. According to a US military statement, the investigation "determined, regretfully, that 33 civilians were killed and 27 wounded" as troops responded to fire from "Taliban who were using civilian houses as firing positions."

After the raid, Kunduz residents carried more than a dozen corpses of the dead, including children and family members of the Taliban fighters, toward a local governor's office in a show of rage. "Regardless of the circumstances, I deeply regret the loss of innocent lives," said Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US Forces in Afghanistan. However, the US military statement added that its investigation "concluded that US forces acted in self-defense" in the joint Afghan-American raid in the village. A government official in Kunduz urged the United States to compensate the victims' families, who he said not only lost their loved ones but also saw their homes and property destroyed. (More Afghanistan stories.)

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