US drone raid kills 14 in eastern Afghanistan
A United States drone strike has killed at least 14 people in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province.
Local sources said three Taliban militants were among the dead. It is not clear whether the rest of the casualties were civilians.
The US spy agency, the CIA, has used hundreds of unmanned aircraft to conduct surveillance flights and airstrikes in Afghanistan since 2001, when the US and its allies invaded the country.
The US claims the airstrikes target members of al-Qaeda and other militants, but according to local officials and witnesses, civilians have also been the victims of the attacks in many cases.
Such attacks are also carried out inside Pakistan, where Taliban members are also present.
Pakistani local residents gather around an unidentified dead body near a destroyed vehicle hit by a US drone strike in which then-Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was believed to have been traveling around 160 kilometers west of Quetta, Pakistan, May 21, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
One such attack killed the Taliban’s then-leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour inside Pakistan on May 21.
Following the attack, the Taliban picked Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new leader.
Akhundzada on Saturday called on the US to end its “occupation” of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan faces a security challenge since the US-led invasion in 2001. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but many areas in the country are still beset with bomb attacks, kidnapping incidents and murders.
The Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh has recently gained a foothold in the country, particularly in Nangarhar, engaging in a rivalry for territory and recruits with the Taliban.
The Taliban has seen a string of defections ever since the news about the death of Mullah Omar, Mansour’s predecessor, broke in late July 2015. Mullah Omar died at a hospital in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi in April 2013, but his death was kept secret for two years.