At least 70 killed in Afghan military strike at mosque

April 2 (UPI) — Dozens of people were killed and injured in a military airstrike on a religious gathering in Afghanistan Monday.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karza condemned the Afghan military strike in the northern Kunduz province which left at least 70 people dead and 30 others injured, according to the Khaama Press news agency.

Afghan Ministry of Defense spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammad Radmanish said more than 20 Taliban insurgents were killed in the airstrike.

District governor of Dasht-e-Archi Nasruddin Saadi said the helicopters attacked a mosque at a religious school where about 1,000 people had gathered for a graduation.

Radmanish said the gathering wasn’t for religious purposes and claimed there weren’t any civilians in the area.

“The Taliban and other insurgent groups were planning to attack Afghan forces, but their plan was discovered by our forces,” he said. “It isn’t a residential area, and only terrorists and the Taliban were active in the place. There wasn’t any civilian in the area.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that no Taliban members were killed and claimed more than 150 people died in the strike.

“Bombing civilians and then calling them mujahedeen is a habit of the Americans and their slaves,” Mujahid said. “Those responsible for killing civilians and insulting religion will be brought to justice.”