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US drone attack kills 15 in east Afghanistan: Officials

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This June 13, 2010 file photo shows a US Predator drone armed with a missile on the tarmac of the Kandahar military airport in Afghanistan. © AFP

Afghan officials confirm that 15 civilians have lost their lives in a US drone strike in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Khost on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, representative of nomads in the lower house of the national assembly, Haidar Naeemzoi, confirmed the drone attack in Alishir district in Khost province near the border with Pakistan.

He rejected earlier reports claiming that the victims were attending the funeral of a Taliban commander, saying the procession was held for a local tribesman.

“A US drone attacked people who were returning from the cemetery. The plane targeted two vehicles killing at least 15 people on the spot,” Naeemzoi said.

He added that six of the victims were members of a single family, including the father and five of his children.

Deputy Governor of Khost Province, Abdul Wahid Patan, said earlier on Friday that at least 34 people, all members of the Taliban militant group, have been killed in the US drone attack.

He added that the militants were holding a funeral ceremony for one of their leaders, who was killed by Afghan forces on Thursday.  

The strike came a day after at least 17 people were killed in two US drone strikes in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.

The US employs unmanned aerial vehicles in an alleged bid to target terrorists in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia. This is while local officials and witnesses say that the drone strikes have mostly claimed the lives of civilians over the past years.

SF/NN/HRB


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