Dozens dead in airstrikes on Taliban base amid peace talks in Afghanistan

According to local officials, airstrikes on a Taliban base in northeastern Afghanistan have killed at least a dozen civilians.

The twin Afghan air force strikes in Kunduz come as the country’s government and the Taliban hold talks to reach a peace settlement.

Provincial officials and a Taliban spokesperson said at least 12 civilians were killed and more than 10 injured.

A defence ministry spokesperson said that more than 40 Taliban fighters were also killed in the strikes. They did not confirm whether there were any civilian deaths, but said an investigation was underway.

The Taliban did not confirm whether there were any casualties among its fighters.

Fatima Aziz, a member of parliament who represents Kunduz, said: “The first strike hit the Taliban base but the second one caused civilian casualties as they had gathered at the bombed site.”

Earlier this year, the United Nations reported that the Afghan army was behind the killing of at least 23 civilians – including children – when it missed a Taliban target and hit a cattle market with mortars.

Afghanistan and the Taliban are currently holding peace talks in Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office.

The talks aim to end decades of war with the Taliban, whose government was overthrown by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

There are deep ideological differences between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan, which has a constitutional commitment since 2004 to civil and human rights.

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