Nine civilians killed in US drone strike in eastern Afghanistan Kabul
February 15 2020 02:26 PM
Relatives mourn next to the body of one of the victims of Friday's air strike in Surkhroad district
Relatives mourn next to the body of one of the victims of Friday's air strike in Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan

dpa/Kabul

At least nine civilians were killed in a drone strike conducted by US forces in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province late on Friday, local officials said.
The strike was in the Kakarak area of Sorkh Rod district, which is under the control of Taliban militants, provincial councillors Abdul Qahar Qadir and Ajmal Omar said.
The targets were Taliban fighters but only civilians were killed, according to the provincial governor spokesman Ataullah Khogyani. Councillor Omar added that the victims were returning from a picnic in the neighbouring Khogyani district at the time of the strike.
A Taliban spokesman said two passenger vehicles carrying 11 civilians were hit. The US military in Afghanistan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Nangarhar is among the volatile provinces where both Taliban and Islamic State militants are active. In November, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani declared that Islamic State had been defeated in the east of the country.
The attack also comes as US and Taliban negotiators are getting closer to a possible agreement after more than one and a half years of talks aimed at ending the ongoing war in the country.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters in Brussels on Thursday that the US and Taliban have negotiated a "proposal" of a seven-day reduction in violence. On the same day, President Donald Trump said an agreement was "very close."



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