Almost 30 civilians killed in air strike in Afghanistan

Almost 30 civilians killed in air strike in Afghanistan

Afghan security forces (Photo by Reuters)

At least 30 civilians were killed and 40 injured in an airstrike conducted by the Afghan security forces, backed by U.S. air support, in eastern Afghanistan, officials said on Thursday.

The attack, on Wednesday night, was aimed at destroying a hideout used by Islamic State (IS) militants, but it accidentally targeted farmers near a field in Wazir Tangi area of Khogyani district in Nangarhar province, three government officials told Reuters.

Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial council member in eastern Nangarhar province said a drone strike killed 30 workers in a pine nut field and at least 40 others were injured.

The defence ministry in Kabul confirmed the strike conducted by Afghan and U.S. forces was aimed at fighters belonging to the IS, but refused to share details of civilians casualty caused by the attack.

Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Nangarhar confirmed the airstrike. "The government is investigating the incident, so far nine bodies were collected from the attack site near a pine nut field."

U.S. forces in Kabul were not immediately available for comment.

Malik Rahat Gul, a tribal elder in Wazir Tangi said the airstrike happened at a time when tired workers, mainly daily wage earners, had gathered near their tent after harvesting pine nuts in a field nearby.

"The workers had lit a bonfire and were sitting together when a drone targeted them," said Gul.

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