United Nations probes air strike in Afghan province of Kunduz

School bombing kills 50, mostly children, in Afghanistan's Kunduz

School bombing kills 50, mostly children, in Afghanistan's Kunduz

Kunduz, which the Taliban briefly seized in 2015, was the scene of one of the most serious civilian casualty incidents in the Afghanistan conflict, when USA airstrikes destroyed a hospital, killing 42 people, mostly patients and medical staff.

Militants numbered hundreds attacked a joint military camp in Khas Uruzgan district Tuesday night, triggering a fierce gunfight which lasted for hours, a provincial government spokesman, Doust Mohammad Nayab, told Xinhua.

He said a government delegation is investigating the incident.

"Unfortunately, what we're seeing as part of the escalation in the air campaign against the Taliban is that the Afghan forces are not always taking the precautions they should to minimize harm to civilians, especially in situations like Dasht-e Archi which has seen intense fighting over the past weeks", she said.

"In the air raids by the Afghan Air Force at around 11 a.m. [0630 GMT], 15 Taliban terrorists, including member of the Quetta Shura, Mawlawi Baryal, were killed and 10 others wounded", the statement had said.

The airstrike by Afghan forces struck the seminary in Fatano locality on Monday when a graduation ceremony for the religious students was ongoing.

"Human rights team on ground establishing facts".

Since Monday, Kunduz city hospitals have received at least 30 casualties, including many children, Dr. Abdul Matin Atifi, head of the public health sector in Kunduz, said.

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The helicopters "fired eight rockets, the first two rockets hit the people sitting outside close to the mosque", Haji Naim said.

The meeting included a "high-ranking Taliban delegation" from the Quetta Shura, Ghulam Hazrat, a spokesman for the 20th army division in Kunduz, told AFP. "Blood everywhere", he said, adding "many" people were killed. Half of the victims had suffered gunshot wounds inflicted by the Taliban, he said. According to the Taliban, about 150 civilians were killed, the majority of them children.

The number of civilian casualties from airstrikes by both forces has also increased, according to the annual civilian casualties report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in 2017.

The Taliban confirmed the attack on the madrassa but denied militants had been meeting at the religious school.

Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the prolonged Afghan hostilities.

Kunduz police chief General Abdul Hamid Hamidi said on Tuesday that "72 of the enemy" had been killed in the air strike.

Earlier this month, a unit of the Afghan security and intelligence forces carried out a deadly raid in two villages in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar province, that resulted in the death of seven farmers including two teenagers.

The incident nonetheless underlined one of the risks of the greater use of air power under the new United States strategy announced past year to try to force the Taliban to the negotiating table.