Two American soldiers and over 30 Afghans were killed during heavy war fighting in the northern provincial capital of Kunduz, Afghanistan on Thursday. Up to four additional American soldiers were injured, according to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
The U.S. soldiers were working with Afghan forces during a joint raid of Taliban positions in the Kunduz district. Taliban militants have intensified their attacks in various parts of Afghanistan resulting in a total of five American deaths in Afghanistan this month. The Taliban claims they have killed 15 American soldiers so far this month. However, it should be noted that the Taliban is notorious for exaggerating their accomplishments on the battlefield. Only four American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan for the entire year of 2016, according to U.S. officials.
The goal of the raid was to eliminate two senior Taliban commanders, who were killed in the fighting along with 63 other insurgents, according to Kunduz police chief Gen. Qasim Jangalbagh.
Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland, a spokesman for the United States military in Afghanistan, states that the Americans that were killed in action were acting as advisors to the Afghan forces. He also denies allegations from the Taliban that NATO forces caused alleged civilian causalities. He told reporters:
“We have no evidence at this point of any civilian casualties, but we take all allegations very seriously.”
NATO has refused to identify the soldiers until their families have been notified. The Pentagon has also declined to comment on the identities of the American soldiers.