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Taliban admits losing 13 in US drone hits in SE Afghanistan

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)
A US Predator drone armed with a missile is seen on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in Afghanistan. (photos by AFP)

Two US assassination drone attacks in Afghanistan’s southeastern Paktika Province has reportedly killed more than a dozen people with Taliban militants confirming the loss of 13 elements.

In a Saturday press release issued by the spokesperson of the local insurgent group, Taliban stated that the militants were targeted by American drones while engaged in a battle with elements linked to their rival Takfiri Daesh terrorists in Warmama area of the Barmal District, local press outlets reported.  

According to the Taliban statement, five of their forces were killed in the first strike and eight more perished in the second one.

The statement, however, did not mention the exact date of the drone attacks.

No official confirmation of the US drone attacks has been reported so far, though local authorities and residents of Gomal District of Pakitika province have verified major skirmishes between Taliban and Daesh-linked terrorists in the area.

Local residents further reported severe clashes between the two rival terror groups in Khand and Dinarkhil areas of the province last week, leading to dozens of casualties.

US Army General John Campbell, the commander of international and US forces in Afghanistan, speaks during a news conference at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, on February 13, 2016.

The out-going commander of the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, vowed on Saturday that US and other foreign forces in the country would remain in Afghanistan and plan “long-term commitment” of their military presence in the war-ravaged country.

The CIA spy agency regularly uses assassination drones for airstrikes and surveillance missions in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border.

Washington has also been conducting targeted killings using the remotely-piloted armed drones in other Muslim countries such as Somalia and Yemen.

The US claims that the drone strikes only target members of al-Qaeda and affiliated militants, but according to local authorities and witnesses, civilians have been the main victims of such attacks in most cases.

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