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An Afghan police official says 26 civilians are dead after an assault that killed two U.S. service members. Gen. Qasim Jangalbagh of Kunduz province says some of the dead after the assault on Thursday included members of a Taliban fighter’s family. Jangalbagh says the raid by U.S. and Afghan forces killed 65 Taliban fighters, including two commanders for the insurgency. NATO earlier announced the killing of two U.S. service members and the wounding of two others in the raid. Both NATO and the Pentagon declined to immediately give further details about the operation or discuss the civilian casualties.
NATO described the Americans killed and two other Americans wounded in the assault as being part of “a train, advise and assist mission” in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province. Meanwhile, Afghan officials said they were still investigating the attack and its civilian casualties, some of which may have been caused by an airstrike. “Today’s loss is heartbreaking and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of our service members who lost their lives today,” Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, said in a statement.
NATO declined to identify those killed, pending notification of the next of kin. NATO and the Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press to further clarify the American troops’ mission in the area.
NATO’s combat operations ended in Afghanistan at the end of 2014, a move that put Afghan forces in charge of the country’s security.