The never-ending conflict in Afghanistan has been a tragedy upon tragedy, stained by the blood of many civilians, tragedies which are never accounted or punished for. The recent airstrike on a madressah in Kunduz might just become the latest statistic.

At least 59 people, including Taliban commanders meeting at the compound in the Dasht-i-Archi district in Kunduz province, were killed in the attack. The attack on the religious seminary, which was sympathetic to the Taliban, was aimed to target Taliban commanders, whose death was considered worthy enough to make civilian children and students killed along in the attack collateral damage. Hundreds of civilians were attending the graduation ceremony at the madressah in a Taliban-controlled north-eastern district when the Afghan air force helicopters struck.

As it is with these attacks, nobody is coming forward or taking accountability. Government officials in Kabul and Kunduz gave contradictory reports, with some denying any civilians had been killed or that an attack had occurred.

The attack however has generated interest of the United Nations, which has stated that it is investigating “disturbing reports of serious harm to civilians” in the attack which has left a number of children dead. Intentional killing of civilians breaches both human rights law, as well as humanitarian law, the law of war, and such a violation warrants the attention of the international body. It is hoped that the UN report does produce consequences for the attackers, who often go unpunished and unperturbed in Afghanistan’s case.

To take initiatives against the Afghanistan is indeed a delicate situation, due to the vulnerability of the government, which is under constant threat and said to control only about half of Afghanistan. However, with peace talks finally ahead, the government must realise that such ruthless operations hurts nobody more than the country, and its peace.