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."
Relatives mourn next to the body of one of the victims of Friday's air strike in Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan