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Dozens Of Afghan Civilians, Police Killed In Fighting In North

A statement from the U.S. military said there was no indication that its planes were responsible.

At least 14 people, including women and children, have been killed in an Afghan-U.S. air strike near the northern city of Kunduz, officials say.

Afghan officials said it was still unclear whether the casualties had been caused by Afghan or U.S. aircraft, both of which flew missions in support of an operation on the ground on July 19.

A statement from the U.S. military said there was no indication that its planes were responsible.

Nematullah Temori, a spokesman for the Kunduz governor, said women and children were among 14 people killed in the raid in Chardara, a district outside Kunduz.

Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish confirmed the death toll, adding that two more civilians were injured in the air strike.

In April, an Afghan air strike on a religious school in the Dasht-e Archi district of Kunduz left at least 50 people dead, including civilians.

Military operations by both Afghan forces and militants have been stepped up in recent months, with civilian casualties reaching a new record in 2018.

According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 1,692 civilians were killed between January 1 and June 30 -- the highest figure reported for that period in the past nine years.

The UN report also said that air strikes had increased substantially, with civilian casualties from aerial attacks rising by 52 percent in the first half of the year to 353 killed and wounded.

Separately, at least 12 police officers were killed when Taliban militants stormed a checkpoint in the Imam Saheb district of Kunduz, according to a provincial council member.

In the eastern province of Ghazni, Taliban fighters launched a wave of attacks, killing at least eight police and wounding seven others, provincial Governor Saib Khan Elham said on July 20.

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attacks.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa
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