Two U.S. troops, 30 Afghan civilians killed during battle with Taliban

Afghan security forces, pictured in August, and U.S. Special Forces have traded possession of parts of Kunduz province in Afghanistan back and forth for months. Two U.S. soldiers and six Afghan soldiers lost their lives during a firefight with Taliban in Kunduz on Thursday. File Photo by Jawed Kargar/EPA

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan, Nov. 4 (UPI) — Two U.S. soldiers and at least 30 Afghan civilians were killed during a firefight while working to drive Taliban militants from the city of Kunduz.

U.S. and Afghan special forces soldiers were ambushed during a raid in Kunduz, and at least six soldiers and 30 civilians, in addition to more than 20 Taliban, were killed by airstrikes called in to assist in the operation, according to the Pentagon.

The raid was part of U.S. Special Forces working with Afghan soldiers to clear the Kunduz area, possession of which has passed into and out of Taliban control in recent months.

“Despite today’s tragic event, we are steadfast in our commitment to help our Afghan partners defend their nation,” said U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan.

During the mission to train, advise and assist Afghan partners of the U.S. military, which included clearing Taliban commanders from the area, U.S. and Afghan forces were ambushed by militants and snipers. U.S. troops called in for air support.

Two U.S. soldiers were killed during the ambush and two others were injured, in addition to four members of Afghan special forces killed and six injured. Twenty-six insurgents were killed and 10 were wounded. At least 30 civilians also were killed as a result of the firefight and airstrikes.

The U.S. military did not comment on or confirm estimates of civilian casualties or the description of what happened, most of which came from Afghan soldiers on the ground.

“The entire event, both the death of U.S. service members and the civilian casualty allegations, are now under investigation,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, a Kabul-based spokesman for the coalition.


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