NATO confirmed Thursday that air raids in Afghanistan by US forces targeting Taliban have killed 33 Afghan citizens.
Twenty-seven other civilians were wounded in the village of Boz in Kunduz city, a statement from US Forces Afghanistan said on Thursday.
The incident on November 3 saw US and Afghan troops carrying out a ground assault against the Taliban when they came under fire from the armed group, prompting a call for air reinforcements, AFP reported.
“To defend themselves and Afghan forces, US forces returned fire in self-defence at Taliban who were using civilian houses as firing positions,” the statement said.
“Regardless of the circumstances, I deeply regret the loss of innocent lives,” General John Nicholson, the top commander of US forces and the NATO mission, said.
The death of innocent civilians had caused a major uproar and the United Nations and other rights organisations condemned the raid.
Villagers quoted by Al Jazeera alleged that the air strikes hit residential areas and resulted in death of innocent civilians.
“We don’t even know if the Taliban were actually killed in this attack. All we saw were dead bodies of the innocent people,” Al Jazeera quoted a resident of Boz village as saying.
According to UN, errant air strikes contributed to a 42 percent jump in casualties caused by pro-government forces in 2016 compared to 2015.