At least 30 civilians were killed and 40 were injured in an air strike by Afghan security forces, backed by US air support in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Thursday.
The attack on Wednesday night was aimed at destroying a hiding place used by militants of the Islamic State (IS), but accidentally targeted farmers near a field in the Wazir Tangi area of Khogyani district in Nangarhar province, they said Three government officials. Reuters.
Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the provincial council in the eastern province of Nangarhar, said a drone strike killed 30 workers in a pinion field and at least 40 others were injured.
The defense ministry in Kabul confirmed that the attack by Afghan and US forces was aimed at combatants belonging to the Islamic State, but refused to share details of civilian casualties caused by the attack.
Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor of Nangarhar, confirmed the air strike.
"The government is investigating the incident, so far nine bodies were collected from the attack site near a pine nut field."
US forces in Kabul were not immediately available for comment.
Malik Rahat Gul, a tribal elder in Wazir Tangi, said the airstrike occurred at a time when tired workers, mainly salaried workers, had gathered near their tent after harvesting pine nuts in a nearby field.
"The workers had lit a fire and were sitting together when a drone attacked them," Gul said.
In early May, US airstrikes killed 17 policemen by mistake during a battle with insurgents in the southern province of Helmand.
Over the past year, the number of US air strikes has increased, most often in response to requests for Afghan assistance, but also in an intensified campaign against the militant group of the Islamic State, which is headquartered in eastern Afghanistan.
According to UN reports, a higher frequency of US airstrikes has caused more civilian deaths. A quarterly estimate issued recently by the UN said Afghan and US forces killed more civilians than insurgents in the first months of 2019.