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Deadly Air Strike Prompts Angry Protests In Afghanistan

  • RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan

Afghan officials say at least 30 civilians, including women and children, have been killed and dozens more wounded in an air strike in the country's north.

Grim protests erupted in Kunduz after the November 3 bombing on the outskirts of the city, with dozens of people rallying outside the governor's office, some of them carrying the bodies of victims.

NATO said it had conducted air strikes to protect friendly forces in an operation in Kunduz, adding that "all civilian casualty claims will be investigated."

A survivor of the air strike told RFE/RL that more than 70 people were taken to the hospital.

"Dozens of people are still under the ruins of their homes," the man said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Many children have been made orphans. We have lost everything."

Protesters used pickup trucks to carry the corpses of many apparent victims as they marched through the streets.

Men and women were seen weeping as they showed the bodies, some of them young children, to the media.

Men and women were seen weeping as they showed the bodies, some of them young children, to the media.

Men and women were seen weeping as they showed the bodies, some of them young children, to the media.

A witness told RFE/RL that he saw warplanes dropping bombs from the sky.

"Everything was destroyed," he said. "Among the dead was a headless child. Another person was killed when he was working in the fields."

NATO earlier said two U.S. soldiers were killed and two others wounded during an operation around Kunduz.

It said the soldiers came under fire "during a train, advise, and assist mission with our Afghan partners to clear a Taliban position and disrupt the group's operations in Kunduz district."

It was not immediately clear if the two incidents were related.

The developments underlined the precarious security situation around Kunduz, which Taliban militants managed to enter last month, a year after they briefly captured the city.

U.S. and NATO forces routinely conduct air strikes and other operations in Afghanistan to support that country's central government as it tries to defeat militant threats from fundamentalist Taliban and Islamic State (IS) fighters, nearly 15 years after a U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban and helped install a UN-backed government in Kabul.

The United Nations concluded recently that the number of civilians killed or maimed in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2016 was a half-year record since counting began in 2009.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP
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