U.S. airstrike killed ten children in the Telawka neighborhood near Kunduz city, in Afghanistan. 2018 registered one of the highest number of civilian casualties ever recorded since the beginning of the Afghan conflict 17 years ago.
According to the United Nations, ten children — part of the same extended family — were killed by a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan, along with three adult civilians, Monday.
The airstrike early on Saturday was part of a battle between the Taliban and combined Afghan and U.S. forces that lasted about 30 hours in Kunduz, a northern province where the Taliban group is strong, reported Reuters News Agency.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement that it is verifying that all 13 civilian casualties occurred around the time of the air strike.
Sgt. Debra Richardson, the spokeswoman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, confirmed that U.S. forces carried out an air strike, but she said on Monday that the mission still had not confirmed that it had caused civilian casualties.
The UNAMA and the UN Human Rights Office released an alarming report in 2018 saying that civilian deaths from Afghan conflict had reached a record level. The report documented 3,804 civilian deaths in 2018. Among the dead were 927 children, the highest recorded number of boys and girls killed in the conflict during a single year.
The report demonstrates a 24 percent increase in civilian casualties attributed to Pro-Government Forces in 2018 as compared to 2017, "which was mainly due to a significant increase in civilian casualties resulting from aerial operations by international military forces."
In 2018, the UN high commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that “the fact that the number of children killed this year is the highest on record, is particularly shocking (...) and she called "on all parties to the conflict to fully respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law to protect the lives of all civilians.”