US drone attack leaves 14 Afghan civilians in Kunar Province: Lawmaker
Sat Oct 14, 2017
An Afghan lawmaker says more than a dozen civilians have been killed in a recent US drone strike, which was said to be aimed at a militant targets in the country’s eastern province of Kunar.
On Friday, residents from the Chawki district of Kunar Province held a gathering to pay tribute to the victims of the deadly drone attack a day earlier.
Speaking during the ceremony, Afghan lawmaker Shahzada Shahid said “the villagers are very upset about this incident, people are now busy with the funeral ceremony of the 14 civilians from the area.”
“There is no doubt that they were civilians, they were not armed with weapons and those that were killed were oppressed,” he added.
A resident also said, “All the victims were civilians and they bombarded the villages and the houses. All of them were local people and did not belong to the enemy.”
Provincial governor’s spokesman Abdul Ghani Musamim said Saturday that the strike targeted a meeting of local Daesh terrorists and Taliban militants, without elaborating on any details.
Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri also confirmed the report.
The US-led foreign military forces in the country have not yet commented on the incident.
The government has no control over the remote area where Afghanistan’s Daesh affiliate has managed to establish a foothold, among other areas in the eastern part of the country.
The United Nations announced in a quarterly report on Thursday that Afghan civilian casualties from US and Afghan airstrikes have climbed by more than 50 percent since last year.
The US military has escalated attacks in Afghanistan under a new strategy announced by President Donald Trump in August.
Washington currently maintains 8,400 soldiers in Afghanistan, with NATO troops making up another 5,000.
Civilian casualties caused by NATO forces have been one of the most contentious issues during the 16-year military campaign in Afghanistan, prompting strong government and public criticism.
Afghanistan is still suffering from insecurity and violence years after the United States and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The military invasion removed the Taliban from power, but the militancy continues to this day.
The war in Afghanistan is the longest in US history with a cost of about $1 trillion. More than 2,400 Americans have died and another 20,000 have been wounded since the invasion in 2001.