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Drone strike kills 9 in east Afghanistan: officials

Drone strike kills 9 in east Afghanistan: officials

Jalalabad (Afghanistan): At least nine civilians have been killed in a drone strike overnight in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, local officials said on Thursday.

District governor Shamsul Haq told AFP that six more people were wounded in the strike in Khogyani district, adding that they were also all civilians.

"The strike was supposed to target Daesh (Islamic State) fighters, but it mistakenly hit the civilians," said Nangarhar police spokesman Mubarez Atal.

The US is the only member of the international coalition in Afghanistan that provides air support in the conflict, but there was no immediate statement from US Forces in Afghanistan, the United Nations or NATO.

Fawad Aman, a deputy defence ministry spokesman, told AFP the ministry was investigating the reports.

Officials in Nangarhar gave varying tolls. Atal said 15 people had been killed, while a third official put the deaths at as many as 30.

"They were ordinary labourers," said Jandar Khan, a local resident.

Both the Islamic State group and the Taliban are active in Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan.

The deaths come after at least 10 people were killed earlier Thursday in a car bomb attack in southern Zabul province.

It was the third day in a row that war-weary Afghanistan, which is gearing up for a presidential election on September 28, has suffered significant militant violence.

On Tuesday the Taliban launched attacks in Kabul and in central Parwan province which killed nearly 50 people.

While on Wednesday unknown gunmen and a suicide bomber stormed a government building in Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar, that left at least four dead.

And, earlier Thursday, at least 10 people were killed and 90 wounded in a Taliban car bomb in the southern province of Zabul.

Ordinary Afghans continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, with more civilians killed in the Afghan war in 2018 than during any other year on record, according to the UN.

An increase in air strikes by US and Afghan forces also led to more civilian deaths in 2018, with more than 500 killed by "aerial operations for the first time on record".

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