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At least nine civilians killed in drone strike in eastern Afghanistan (officials)

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — At least nine civilians were killed Thursday in eastern Afghanistan in a strike on a drone that targeted Islamic State fighters, official sources said, admitting there was a “mistake.”

“Nine people were killed and six others, all civilians, were injured in a strike by a drone in Wazir Tangi district of Khogiani district of Nangarhar province,” the governor of the Khogiani district, Shamsul Haq, told AFP.

Police spokesman Mubarez Atal said the strike “was aimed at ISIS fighters, but it injured civilians by mistake.”

The United States is the only member of the international coalition in Afghanistan that provides air support in the conflict, but no statement has yet been made by US forces in Afghanistan, the United Nations or NATO.

Deputy Defense Ministry spokesman Fawaz Aman told AFP that the ministry was investigating reports of the strike.

Officials in Nangarhar gave mixed figures on the death toll.

Atal said the strike killed 15 people and a third official put the death toll at 30.

“They were ordinary workers,” said Gandar Khan, a local resident.

The Taliban and ISI are active in Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan.

The strike came hours after at least 15 people were killed in a suicide truck bombing south of the city of Qala in the southern province of Zabul, which was claimed by the Taliban.

The attack is the fourth in three consecutive days in the country and comes ten days before an election in which Afghans are supposed to choose their president. The Taliban claimed three of the attacks.

In July, the UN mission in Afghanistan condemned the continued “unacceptable” killing and injury of civilians in the 18-year conflict.

The year 2018 saw the largest number of Afghan civilians killed, 3804 people including 900 children, in addition to 7,189 injured.

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