Self-Defense Strikes in Afghanistan Killed 33 Civilians

US and Afghan forces fought in self defense in a Nov. 2-3, 2016, battle in Boz Village, Afghanistan, returning fire against Taliban fighters using civilian houses as firing positions. A total of 33 Afghan civilians were killed and 27 wounded, according to the results of a US Forces-Afghanistan investigation, released Thursday. The joint operation was planned to capture Taliban leaders responsible for violence the previous month in Kunduz, US Forces-Afghanistan said in a news release announcing the investigation. When the joint forces arrived, they were fired upon by Taliban fighters in multiple civilian buildings. The team took casualties and requested air support from US aircraft in the area, which “used the minimum amount of force” to neutralize the threats. While no civilians were seen during the battle, they were likely inside the buildings, according to the report. A Taliban weapons cache was targeted, which resulted in secondary explosions. Two US soldiers were killed and four injured in the fight, while 26 Taliban fighters were killed and another 26 wounded. “On this occasion the Taliban chose to hide amongst civilians and then attacked Afghan and US forces,” Gen. John Nicholson said in the release, that says the US acted in self defense and in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict. “I wish to assure President Ghani and the people of Afghanistan that we will take all possible measures to protect Afghan civilians. We will continue to assist the Afghan Security Forces in their efforts to defend their country.”