At least 13 civilians, mostly children, were killed by a US air raid in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, the United Nations said on Monday.
The air raid early on Saturday was part of a battle between the Taliban and combined Afghan and US forces that lasted about 30 hours in Kunduz, a Taliban stronghold.
“Initial fact-finding indicates that 10 of those killed were children, part of the same extended family whom were displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country,” the UN mission in Afghanistan said in a statement.
“Those who were killed were internally displaced families who had fled the war in Dasht-e-Archi district and had recently moved to the city,” added Khosh Mohammad Nasratyar, member of Kunduz provincial council, saying three children were also wounded in the attack.
The deaths come as ordinary Afghans continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, with more civilians killed in the Afghan war in 2018 than during any other year on record, according to a UN report, with more than 500 killed by “aerial operations for the first time on record.”
Child casualties from air raids have also increased every year since 2014.
Fighting has accelerated during a period of recurring talks between US and Taliban officials aimed at ending Afghanistan’s 17-year war.
A day earlier, the Taliban attacked two Afghan outposts in Sangin, killing 48 Afghan security personnel, said Hashim Alokozay, a Helmand member of parliament.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the two outposts were overrun, killing 52 Afghan troops and wounding 11 more.