The Afghan Defense Ministry says Monday’s attack by the government air force on a Taliban meeting in Dasht-i-Archi district of Kunduz province, killed senior commanders of the group including Quetta Shura member Mawlavi Baryal.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry’s Deputy Spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said that the Afghan Air Force did not target civilians but had targeted a gathering of Taliban members and their commanders in Kunduz airstrike.
He said the Taliban opened fire on Afghan air force helicopters and then on civilians after the airstrike.
At the press conference, Radmanish also showed photographs and aerial footage of the targeted area. He said the people photographed were Taliban leaders and fighters and had been filmed while coming together to plan attacks against the Afghan army troops in the province.
According to the Defense Ministry, the airstrike which took place on Monday at around 11:00 am in a Taliban-controlled area, killed at least 18 of the group’s commanders, including a Quetta Shura member Mawlavi Baryal.
“Yesterday’s raid on the Taliban stronghold, has claim lives of some children [as well] and I offer condolences to their families,” Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said.
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it was investigating the incident amid reports of civilian casualties.
“UNAMA actively looking into disturbing reports of serious harm to civilians yesterday from airstrike at DashtiArchi, Kunduz. Human Rights team on ground establishing facts. All parties reminded of obligations to protect civilians from impact of armed conflict,” UN tweeted.
The President’s office, meanwhile in a statement on Tuesday said that it has appointed a task team to investigate Monday’s airstrike in Dasht-e-Archi of Kunduz province.
According to the statement, the assigned commission – headed by General Khudaidad Hazara, the Inspector General of the National Security Council, and include presidential advisors Tahir Safai and Sayed Sulaiman Hamid – was asked to report back about findings of their investigation to the national security council meeting within a week.