U.S. admits to Afghanistan drone strike that killed 30 farmers

U.S. military forces in Afghanistan confirmed Thursday a drone strike on militant targets in the Nangarhar province that killed 30 pine nut farmers.

An undated picture by the US Air Force shows an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft in flight at an undisclosed location. U.S. officials said Thursday it conducted a drone strike in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan where 30 farmers were killed. Photo by Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt

The attack early Thursday happened in the Wazir Tangi area in the Khagyani district where U.S. officials said the strike was intended to destroy a location used by Islamic State fighters.

“Initial indications are members of Daesh were among those targeted in the strike,” Col. Sonny Leggett, spokesman for the American-led coalition in Afghanistan said. “However, we are working with local officials to determine whether there was collateral damage.”

Nangarhar provincial council member Sohrab Qaderi said that 40 people were injured along with the 30 deaths.

The strike came after the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack that killed at least 20 people and wounded 100 more at a government hospital. The terrorist group claimed it was targeting a security office.

“We are fighting in a complex environment against those who intentionally kill and hide behind civilians, as well as use dishonest claims of non-combatant casualties as propaganda weapons,” Leggett said initially when reports surfaced that civilians were killed in the drone attack.

ByClyde Hughes