The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the Taliban initiated attack at Kandahar airport on 8 December, which reportedly killed 39 civilians, including four children and injured at least 23 civilians.
A news release issued by the UN mission said that the complex attack, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, continued with fighting for over 24 hours, during which time they intentionally targeted civilian areas of the base.
Initial reports gathered by UNAMA indicate that Taliban fighters dismounted their vehicles in the bazaar and opened fire, killing and injuring civilian shopkeepers and customers and the fighting reportedly continued in the residential areas of the base accommodating the families of Afghan security forces and airport staff.
The UN mission documented 54 deaths and 42 injured, according to its preliminary findings and those killed in the attack include 39 civilian males, of whom at least four were boys, 13 Afghan National Army and two Afghan National Police.
UNAMA said that the majority of the deceased appeared to be civilian shopkeepers working at the bazaar and civilian customers; of the 42 injured, at least 23 are civilian, including a woman and a girl.
The UN Mission expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.
Further, UNAMA reiterated that international humanitarian law, which applies to all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, prohibits attacks against civilians at any time and in any place, which additionally includes families of Afghan security forces and other civilians not participating in the conduct of hostilities.
Parties to the conflict must take all feasible precautions to protect the civilian population against the effects of attacks, UNAMA concluded.