US military says battle with Taliban killed 33 civilians in Afghanistan
KABUL — An investigation into a November firefight between Taliban insurgents and joint US and Afghan forces has concluded that 33 civilians were killed in the operation, the US military said on Thursday.
Two US and three Afghan troops were also killed in the battle in Boz Kandahari village in northern Kunduz province. The operation targeted Taliban leaders the US military said were responsible for deadly incursions in the area, including a brazen assault on the provincial capital in October. The insurgents briefly captured the city’s central neighborhoods, in a stunning display of strength.
‘‘The investigation determined, regretfully, that 33 civilians were killed and 27 wounded,’’ a statement from US forces in Afghanistan said of the November raid. It said that 26 Taliban fighters, including two leaders, were also killed, a claim the villagers dispute.
‘‘To defend themselves and Afghan forces, US forces returned fire in self-defense at Taliban who were using civilian houses as firing positions,’’ the statement said, adding that no further action would be taken. No compensation has been paid to the family of the victims, according to Kunduz lawmaker Fatima Aziz.
‘‘We want the US government to pay reparations,’’ Aziz said when reached by telephone. ‘‘For the loss civilian lives and the destruction of their houses.’’
The probe comes as civilian casualties have reached record highs in Afghanistan, where battles in rural areas and suicide and other bomb attacks are causing the majority of civilian deaths, killing more than 2,500 people in the first nine months of 2016.