Afghan President Ghani apologizes for casualties in Kunduz airstrike

KABUL (Sarzameen News) – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tendered an apology Wednesday to the families of civilians, mainly children, who were left dead when the country’s air force bombed a religious gathering attended by top Taliban leaders, last month.

The airstrike on a ceremony in Dasht-i-Archi District in Kunduz Province left at least 50 Afghans dead, including 30 children as the Afghan Air Force (AAF) sprayed the gathering with rockets and machine guns on April 2.

On Wednesday, Ghani apologised to the families and local elders over the loss of lives.

[The] difference between evildoers and a legitimate government is that a legitimate government apologises for the mistakes made,” he said, according to the statement issued by the presidential palace; the president also tweeted the same.

He vowed that the government would compensate the families and would build a minaret in memory of the victims as well as a mosque for the region.

I have told the defense minister to be very diligent in carrying out airstrikes so we can prevent such incidents,” he said.

The apology was untoward in a context that initially Kabul denied targeting civilians, and resorted to saying that senior Taliban leaders were killed in the strike.

Even last week, the Afghan Defense Ministry insisted that 18 important Taliban commanders, including Mawlawi Baryal, a member of the Quetta Shura, were killed in the attack.

Twelve more Taliban commanders were injured in this strike. Unfortunately, the Taliban used people as a shield. Nine civilians were killed and 55 more were injured in the attack” said a statement by the ministry on May 8.

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