Over the weekend, Pentagon officials confirmed that the US was behind airstrikes against the north Afghan village of Bouz Kandahari, which they conceded “likely resulted in civilian casualties.” The attack was initially reported to have killed at least 30 civilians, with subsequent reports from locals saying they’d buried 36 killed in the attack.
The Thursday morning strikes were called in after a pair of US soldiers were killed in fighting with the Taliban, and Afghan officials claimed the locals were being used as “human shields” by the Taliban when the airstrikes were launched against the village.
The villagers, however, insist that the claims are false, that there were no Taliban in the village at the time, pointing out that no Taliban were hit in the airstrikes. The Pentagon has subsequently promised an investigation, saying they need to determine the facts.
Despite angry protests from the villagers, and promises of investigations from the US and UN both predicated on the idea that large numbers of civilians were killed, the Afghan Defense Ministry continues to change its story to prevent the attacks as justified. Previously claiming fighters were hiding in the city, they now report that the Taliban leadership lived in the village and were targeted, even though the weekend burials appear to have included no military-aged males.