Nov. 30 (UPI) -- A U.S. airstrike killed nearly two dozen civilians in Afghanistan this week, mostly women and children, the United Nations said in a report Thursday.
The attack happened Tuesday in the Garmser district of Helmand province after ground forces encountered Taliban fighters in the area, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said.
The strike occurred during an operation involving Afghan and international military forces, UNAMA said.
Officials said the dead could include as many as 10 children and eight women. Three other children were injured.
The attack came three days after bombs hit three homes in the same province, killing two civilians and injuring 14 others, including several children. Taliban fighters had previously launched an attack near the homes.
UNAMA said in its report 55 percent of the civilian casualties this week were children. It also said there were nearly 650 civilian casualties between January and November -- the highest yearly airstrike toll to date since the United Nations started keeping records in 2009.
UNAMA encouraged both sides of the conflict to "uphold their obligations to protect civilians from harm."
Last week, a bomb killed three U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, raising the total for 2018 to 13.