Airstrike kills children at Afghanistan religious school

Afghan boys injured in an airstrike on a religious seminary receive medical treatment at a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Photo by Najim Raheem/EPA-EFE

April 3 (UPI) — Dozens of civilians, including many children, were killed in an air attack targeting the Taliban in Afghanistan‘s northern Kunduz province.

Officials said a religious school in the Dasht-e-Archi district killed at least 70 people, including top Taliban commanders. The Taliban denied its fighters were present at the time of the strike.

“The airstrike killed more than 30 Taliban fighters, including nine commanders,” Radmanish told Al Jazeera. “The Taliban training center was bombed and no civilians were present.”

Witnesses to the air raid, however, say more than 100 people were killed, many of them civilians and children.

“There were children as young as 11 or 12 years old in the ceremony who were to be presented with awards and gifts for the completion of their religious courses,” witness Mohammed Abdul Haq said.

“Mothers are wailing and crying outside the hospitals for the death of their children and everyone is crying with them.”

Radmanish said the gathering wasn’t for religious purposes and claimed there weren’t any civilians in the area.

Although the district is controlled by the Taliban, the school ceremony was mostly attended by children and young boys.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said on Twitter they would investigate.

“UNAMA actively looking into disturbing reports of serious harm to civilians yesterday from airstrike at Dashti Archi, Kunduz. Human Rights team on ground establishing facts. All parties reminded of obligations to protect civilians from impact of armed conflict,” the organization tweeted.


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