Dozens of Taliban fighters killed in twin airstrikes in Afghanistan's Kunduz
Iran Press TV
Sunday, 20 September 2020 4:33 AM
Afghan government forces have carried out two airstrikes on a Taliban base in the northeastern province of Kunduz, killing dozens of militants, officials said.
The offensive was launched after the Taliban fighters attacked Afghan forces in Khan Abad district of Kunduz, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Saturday.
Defense officials in Kabul said more than 40 Taliban fighters were killed in the retaliatory airstrikes. Eight more militants were also wounded, they said.
In addition, four vehicles, eight motorbikes and a large weapons and munition depot were destroyed in the operation.
The attacks happened a week after long-awaited "peace talks" began between the Taliban and the Afghan government, led by President Ashraf Ghani.
A provincial official said at least 11 civilians were also killed in the airstrikes by Afghan forces.
The ministry said reports of civilian casualties were being investigated.
"The first strike hit the Taliban base but the second one caused civilian casualties as they had gathered at the bombed site," said Fatima Aziz, a member of parliament who represents Kunduz.
Shortly after the attacks, President Ghani again called for a humanitarian ceasefire "to protect our people, prevent violence and terrorist incidents and to achieve a dignified and lasting peace."
Last week, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem claimed the group had reduced the level of violence with the start of the first round of intra-Afghan talks.
The negotiations are a result of a deal between the Taliban and the US signed in February, which also paved the way for the withdrawal of all foreign forces by May 2021.
Afghanistan has been gripped by insecurity since the US and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror in 2001. Many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops.
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