Afghan officials say the air strike in Kunduz province killed at least 30 militants. Taliban denies its members were targeted, saying the attack killed and wounded 150 civilians.

An Afghan resident is treated at a hospital following an air strike in Kunduz on April 2, 2018.
An Afghan resident is treated at a hospital following an air strike in Kunduz on April 2, 2018. (AFP)

An Afghan forces air strike on a suspected Taliban gathering in the northern province of Kunduz on Monday caused dozens of casualties, including many civilians, officials said.

Afghan official said the air strike killed at least 30 militants and wounded many more, while the Taliban said the air strike hit a religious school during a graduation ceremony, killing or wounding nearly 150 civilians.

"Air capacity was used and bombed (the location), 30-40 people were killed including nine of their commanders, Qari Baryal and Saikh Abdul Aziz who were trained in Pakistan to threat Afghan people were killed as well," said defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish of the attack in Dasht-i Archi district of Kunduz province.

"I can confirm that a Taliban training centre was bombed and no civilians were present," he said.

TRT World's Bilal Sarwary has more.

Conflicting accounts

It was not immediately possible to reconcile the conflicting accounts.

A senior local official said "around 150" people had been killed and wounded in the air strike, AFP news agency reported. 

The Taliban said in a statement that the air strike hit a "religious seminary", killing and wounding more than 150 clerics, religious students and other civilians. 

The group's spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied that any of its forces were present.

"Some people's heads were cut off, some people's feet were cut off, some people were not able to find their children. I say, in a big meeting like this where children and old men were present, is this a Taliban meeting. No, it was not," said Gul Mohammad, a victim's relative.

A number of children were being treated for wounds at a local hospital, indicating civilians were in the area.

Locals say mosque targeted 

Local people said the strike had hit a mosque and that a number of civilians had been killed and wounded. 

Dasht-i Archi has been largely under the control of Taliban fighters, and many details about the strike were unclear.

Army Colonel Lisa Garcia, US Forces-Afghanistan spokesperson, said US forces had not carried out any attacks in the area.

"US Forces-Afghanistan did not conduct air strikes in Kunduz province today. Any claims to the contrary are baseless," she said in an emailed statement. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies