The United Nations has condemned a US drone strike in Afghanistan that killed more than a dozen civilians and injured over a dozen others.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement on Thursday, “UNAMA condemns the killing of at least 15 civilian men and the injuring of at least 13 others, including at least one boy, in the strike.”
The UN mission called for an independent investigation into the incident.
“UNAMA calls on the government and international military forces to launch a prompt, independent, impartial, transparent, and effective investigation into this incident.”
It reiterated the concerns of local officials and Afghan people over the killing of innocent civilians in US drone strikes.
Afghan officials said Wednesday the US drone strike struck a home in a village in the Achin district in eastern Nangarhar Province, where civilians had gathered to celebrate the return of a tribal elder from the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
The guests, who were considered to be pro-government, were sleeping in a guesthouse when the airstrike occurred. Initial reports from local sources said at least 21 people had died in the attack.
A spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan confirmed the strike and said US military commanders had brought up the issue “with Afghan authorities to determine if there is cause for additional investigation.”
The US military said the attack was meant to target Daesh terrorists.
Last month, another US drone attack killed 22 Afghan soldiers held by Taliban militants in the Nad-e-Ali district of Helmand Province.
In July, UNAMA said the UN had counted 1,601 civilian deaths and 3,565 injuries in Afghanistan in the first half of 2016. The records, it said, showed an unprecedented rise in civilian casualties.
In June 2015, a group of former US military personnel issued a joint appeal to drone pilots carrying out strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and other Muslim nations, urging them to refuse to work.
They said the targeted assassination missions “profoundly violate domestic and international laws.”