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Afghan officials were warned of civilian presence in letter days ahead of US drone strike: report

20 Sep 2019 TheHill

Days before civilians were killed in a U.S. strike, village elders in Afghanistan's Wazir Tangi area reportedly sent a letter to the governor of the country's eastern Nangarhar province about plans to recruit 200 laborers and kids to help harvest pine nuts. 

The letter was intended to protect those people and prevent them from being caught in fire between the U.S., Afghan security forces and insurgents, according to Reuters

A U.S. forces spokesman said Thursday that the strike was done by the U.S. and was meant to hit ISIS fighters, according to the wire service. The news outlet reported that 30 civilians were killed and 40 people were injured. 

Colonel Sonny Leggett told Reuters that the letter would be part of the probe into the incident. “Initial indications are members of Daesh [ISIS] were among those targeted in the strike,” Leggett said. “However, we are working with local officials to determine whether there was collateral damage.”

Taliban and ISIS fighters have been fighting over the province, Reuters reported. It noted that The U.S. and Afghanistan often launch strikes to renew their control of territory the insurgent groups have gained. 

 

Original Link: https://thehill.com/policy/international/middle-east-north-africa/462289-afghan-officials-were-warned-of-civilian

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