Wednesday, June 10, 2015

US drone kills at least 34 attending funeral of a member of the Taliban

On Friday June 5, US drones attacked a funeral for a Taliban fighter in Khost province. Since the funeral was for an alleged Taliban fighter, the Afghan government assumed that the mourners were all members of the Taliban as well.
A Taliban spokesperson, Zablullah Mujahid, confirmed the attack, but insisted that a number of those killed were innocent members of the same nomadic tribe to which the victim belonged. Mujahid claimed that 20 civilians were killed in the strike. Afghan members of parliament from the region also insisted that a number of civilians were killed in the strikes. Haidar Naeemzoi, a representative of nomads in the lower house of the national assembly insisted that all the victims were civilians:“A U.S. drone attacked people who were returning from the cemetery. The plane targeted two vehicles killing at least 15 people on the spot."
As often is the case, there is a conflicting story but this one is being pushed only by the Khost provincial police who claimed that the US strike was against Taliban forces who were retreating near the Pakistan border. Another report, indicates that many of the mourners came across the border from Pakistan to the attend the ceremony. An anonymous border police officer said:“The incident has taken place few kilometers from the border line with Pakistan. The majority of the insurgents killed in the airstrike had crossed the border to attend the funeral ceremony. All the bodies were collected by security forces and all of them were Taliban militants. There are no civilian casualties.”
There were other drone attacks which took place late on Thursday in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan. In two bombings at least 17 suspected Taliban members were killed. A regional police spokesperson said that the attacks were on three vehicles containing the insurgents. He also said that among the dead was an important Taliban commander. While the US has made many attacks in the province of late and claim to have killed 50 Taliban, the Islamic State is also busy beheading Taliban members as the group struggles to take over Taliban territory.

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