Two U.S. soldiers, dozens of Afghan civilians die in Kunduz attack

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan, Two U.S. Special Operations soldiers and more than 30 Afghan civilians died Thursday during a battle in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, military officials said.

Afghan security officials patrol in Aachin district of Kunduz, Afghanistan, August 25. Two U.S. soldiers, four Afghan troops and dozens of civilians died Thursday in an attack by the Taliban in Kunduz. File Photo by Jawed Kargar/EPA

Afghan government troops and elite U.S. forces on a “train, advise, assist” mission were targeting Taliban commanders northeast of the city of Kunduz when they came under heavy gunfire, officials from the U.S.-led coalition said.

At least 30 Afghan civilians and four Afghan special forces soldiers were killed in the attack, and at least 46 civilians and two U.S. soldiers were injured. Among the dead were women and children.

The names of the victims were not immediately reported.

“Despite today’s tragic event, we are steadfast in our commitment to help our Afghan partners defend their nation,” said Army Gen. John Nicholson, the United States’ top military commander in Afghanistan.

The city of Kunduz was captured by Taliban militants in October for the second time this year, but was freed by U.S. and Afghan troops after 10 days of fighting. The Taliban remain in the suburbs, and urban residents fear another attack may soon come. The back-and-forth nature of the city’s control is indicative of the Afghan government’s tenuous hold on security and its military’s dependence on the United States for aerial and ground support, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

By Ed Adamczyk