Two US troops killed during attack in Afghanistan; airstrikes called in to protect troops kill dozens of civilians

Two American service members were killed on Thursday while fighting the Taliban near the northern Afghan city of Kunduz.  During the fighting, around 30 civilians were killed in air strikes called in to protect Afghan and U.S. troops, officials said.

Afghan officials said there was heavy fighting overnight in the village of Buz Kandahari, about 5 km (3 miles) from the center of Kunduz, which Taliban fighters succeeded in entering as recently as last month, according to Reuters.

“Unfortunately more than 30 civilians, including women and children, were killed during the fighting. This was a horrible incident,” said Asadullah Amarkhil, the governor of Kunduz, adding that dozens had been wounded.

Local Afghans brought many of the dead bodies, which included children, to the local governor’s office in Kunduz to protest the airstrike.

Two senior Taliban commanders targeted in the raid were also killed, along with 63 other insurgents, Kunduz police chief Gen. Qasim Jangalbagh said. He said Afghan special forces carried out the raid and that he did not have any information about NATO involvement in the assault.

Two senior Taliban commanders targeted in the raid were also killed, along with 63 other insurgents, Kunduz police chief Gen. Qasim Jangalbagh said, according to Army Times.

He said the raid was conducted by Afghan special forces but would not comment on the presence of US troops or NATO involvement in the operation.

The general stated that 26 civilians were killed and some of those included members of the Taliban fighter’s families.

In a statement, the U.S. military said the service members who were killed came under attack while working with Afghan partners to clear a Taliban position and disrupt the group’s operations in the district around the city.

“I was deeply saddened to learn overnight that we suffered casualties in Afghanistan. The two service members killed and the four who suffered injuries were with Afghan forces as part of our train, advise and assist mission. Some of our Afghan partners also died,” Carter said. “Our service members were doing their part to help the Afghans secure their own country while protecting our homeland from those who would do us harm.”

“As part of an Afghan operation, friendly forces received direct fire and air strikes were conducted to defend themselves,” said Brigadier General Charles Cleveland, of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission, said in a separate statement.

The service members who were killed will not be named until their families are notified. So far this year there have been at least four other combat deaths among American forces in Afghanistan.

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