Tue May 5, 2015 08:37AM
This file photo shows a US MQ-9 Reaper assassination drone.
This file photo shows a US MQ-9 Reaper assassination drone.

At least 17 people have lost their lives in the latest US assassination drone strike in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar.

Colonel Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal, the press officer at the police headquarters of the province, said on Tuesday that the airstrike was carried out in the Landi Basawal area of Mohamand Dara District on Monday evening.

Mashriqiwal claimed the victims were Taliban militants and that the attack targeted their hideout.

A local militant commander was reportedly among the dead.

The Taliban have made no comments on the incident, yet.

The United States carries out targeted killings through drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

While Washington claims the targets of the drone attacks are al-Qaeda militants, locals and witnesses maintain that, in most cases, civilians have been the victims of the attacks over the past few years.

Government military ops

Meanwhile, statements by Afghanistan’s Defense and Interior ministries said on Tuesday that eight soldiers along with 27 militants were killed during separate military operations across the country in the past 24 hours.

According to the Ministry of Defense’s statement, the eight soldiers lost their lives in a landmine explosion and militant fire. The exact place of the incident was not mentioned in the statement.

Another statement issued by the Ministry of Interior said that 27 militants were killed and 10 others wounded during separate military operations in Uruzgan, Nangarhar, Helmand, Badghis, Paktiya, Farah, Zabul and Kandahar.

National security forces also defused several improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during the operation in Arghistan district of Kandahar, the statement added.

Afghan National Army soldiers prepare to fire during a battle with Taliban militants in northern Kunduz Province, May 3, 2015. (© AFP)

 

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues in the war-torn country despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops.

The US-led combat mission in Afghanistan ended on December 31, 2014. However, at least 13,500 foreign forces, mainly from the United States, will remain in Afghanistan in what is said to be a support mission.

US-led NATO says the forces will focus more narrowly on counterterrorism and on training Afghan soldiers and policemen.

YH/HJL/HMV