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US finds no evidence of civilian casualties in Afghanistan after Kunduz reports

The U.S. military said Monday that investigators found no evidence of civilian casualties amid reports that airstrikes killed more than a dozen people in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province last week.

“United States Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A) has investigated allegations of civilian casualties in Kunduz province during the period of November 3 and 4; no evidence of civilian casualties has been found … Specifically, no hospitals or clinics in the local area indicated treatment of people with wounds from armed conflict,” the forces said in a press release.

On Saturday, the Afghan defense ministry said it had opened an investigation into reports of civilian casualties in Kunduz’s Chardara district following a combined U.S.-Afghan operation against the Taliban. Provincial council members said between 14 and 22 civilians were killed in U.S. airstrikes during the assault; some media reports put the number as high as 65.

“We can confirm operations occurred in this area and numerous enemy combatants were killed, as also confirmed by Kunduz Governor Omarkhail and Ministry of Defense Spokesman Major General Dawlat Waziri,” the release said.

The investigation was “conducted independently,” according to the release.

According to the United Nations, civilians killed or injured by U.S. and Afghan airstrikes rose 52 percent in the first nine months of 2017 compared with the same period last year.

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