US drone strike kills 30 pine nut farm workers in Afghanistan

Clay Curtis
September 21, 2019

Meanwhile on Thursday, at least 20 civilians were reportedly killed in a suicide truck bomb attack carried out by the Taliban in the southern province of Zabul.

Read: At least 30 civilians killed in air strike near pine nut field in eastern Afghanistan On Wednesday, just hours after farmers, labourers and children finished their day's work of plucking pine nuts in the heavily forested area and lit bonfires near their tents, a U.S. drone hit the site, killing 30 civilians and injuring 40 others, according to three Afghan provincial officials.

The Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, have carried out almost daily attacks since peace talks with the United States collapsed earlier this month.

"We stand against those who exploit their positions of power and influence to deprive the Afghan people of the benefits of foreign assistance and a more prosperous future", Pompeo said. Provincial council member Ajmal Omar confirmed that more than 30 laborers had been killed in the strike.

Zabihullah Majihed, a Taliban spokesman, said the target was a nearby intelligence center, adding that the bomb had left "tens of intelligence operatives killed/wounded".

The Afghan Defense Ministry and a US military spokesman confirmed the strike.

The attacks claimed by the Taliban have intensified since US President Donald Trump abruptly ended peace talks with the group earlier this month.

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Former president Barack Obama also clashed with his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, with his administration saying Kabul had not curbed corruption and became too reliant on the USA military.

"I rushed to the scene and I am looking for them and can not find them. I don't know what to do", shopkeeper Muqim Ahmad told AFP, saying his wife and mother were inside the facility at the time of the blast.

The Taliban have vowed to disrupt the September 28 election in which Ghani is taking on his own Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah, and more than a dozen other candidates.

Javed, a survivor of the attack recovering in the Nangarhar Regional Hospital, said it was his second night in the forest when a drone struck his temporary shelter.

The insurgents, however, are set on undermining the legitimacy of the process and keeping the president weak.

"We were not privy to this "agreement" that puts them (IS fighters) amongst other harvesters". However, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday asked the USA to resume talks with the Taliban. Trump cited a September 5 suicide vehicle bombing that killed an American soldier and 11 other people in Kabul as the reason for the sudden cancellation of the negotiations, which lasted 10 months.

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