These children in #Kunduz were supposed to be graduating today for memorising the #Quran & receive their gifts. Instead they recieved a bomb from an Afghan military helicopter. 80 students/scholars/parents were killed!— زاهد أختر (@AHudhayfah) April 2, 2018
This is NOT #WarOnTerror, it's #WarOfTerror!#Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/cDNbeghoLi
In yet another incident of ongoing human rights atrocities in the world, dozens of civilians, including children, were killed in an Afghan airstrike.
More than a 100 people were mercilessly bombed in the Northern Province of Kunduz, yet most of the mainstream media outlets have failed to report on what clearly is a devastating war crime.
The air raids, which targeted a religious school in the Dasht-e-Archidistrict of the Kunduz province, were reportedly launched to kill Taliban fighters.
Ministry of Defense spokesman, Mohammad Radmanish, told Al Jazeera that the air raid was aimed at "top Taliban commanders.”
"The air strike killed more than 30 Taliban fighters, including nine commanders," he said. "The Taliban training centre was bombed and no civilians were present."
However the Taliban denied any of its fighters were present at the school.
Sadly, according to developing reports, the people who were present at the school were children mostly under the age of 10 and their family members. These children were attending a religious event, known as Dastaar Bandi, where they were supposed to receive gifts and other awards for memorizing the Quran.
"There were children as young as 11 or 12 years old in the ceremony who were to be presented with awards and gifts for the completion of their religious courses," said Mohammed Abdul Haq, an eye witness of the attack.
"Mothers are wailing and crying outside the hospitals for the death of their children and everyone is crying with them," he added.
“The Taliban are active in the area, but the ceremony was attended mostly by children and young boys," said another witness, Haji Ghulam.
"It was a disaster. Blood everywhere," he said, adding "many" people were killed.
Disturbing images widely being shared online show faces of innocent children, who purportedly died as a result of the Afghan Air Force bombing.
Massacre in Kunduz. Afghanistan's military has bombarded a mosque during a religious ceremony. Locals say the death toll is 300+, mostly children & their parents who'd gathered for the event. This is what breeds Talibanization, not Pakistan. Down with this murderous Kabul regime. pic.twitter.com/TCFalrRvPe— Ashar Jawad (@AsharJawad) April 2, 2018
It's a senseless act of unspeakable brutality that has claimed lives of the most innocent human beings- young children while they were attending their hifz ceremony. we condemn this cowardly attack. #KunduzMassacre #Kunduz pic.twitter.com/FnqIS8jjJZ— hifsa (@hif_do001) April 3, 2018
I am deeply saddened by the news of civilian casualties in Dasht-e Archi of Kunduz. I offer my heartfelt sympathy to their families and loved ones and pray for enduring peace in the country. The killing of innocent Afghans under any circumstances is not acceptable. #Kunduz— Hekmat Khalil Karzai (@HekmatKarzai) April 3, 2018
Spoke to residents of Dasht-e Archi dist in Kunduz this morning (Tues), they say at least 100 people — all civilians — killed in an airstrike on a madrasa conducted by Afghan forces (who claim Taliban were gathered) Mon.— Ali M Latifi (@alibomaye) April 3, 2018
"We've spent all morning at burials," they say.
Pray for Afghanistan. more than 200 people including children lost their lives to a airstrike. RIP #Kunduz 🇵🇰🇦🇫— Pakistan (@whatsupPakistan) April 3, 2018
Meanwhile, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said its investigators were in the area looking into "disturbing reports of serious harm" to civilians.
UNAMA actively looking in to disturbing reports of serious harm to civilians yesterday from airstrike at #DashtiArchi, #Kunduz. Human Rights team on ground establishing facts. All parties reminded of obligations to protect civilians from impact of armed conflict. #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/aRANBzOBzO— UNAMA News (@UNAMAnews) April 3, 2018
The Afghan officials still claim the people killed in the massacre were Taliban; however, the Taliban denied all these reports, claiming the air raid killed around 150 religious scholars and civilians, mostly children, maintaining none of their fighters died as a result of this air raid.
Abdul Matin Atefi, the provincial health director of Kunduz, said 26 bodies had arrived in hospitals and clinics. He said he doesn’t “know how many of those are civilians or Taliban, but the Taliban usually do not allow their dead or wounded to be registered in clinics.”
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Stringer