Air strike, suicide attack kill at least 50 in Afghanistan

04:21 PM | 19 Sep, 2019
Air strike, suicide attack kill at least 50 in Afghanistan
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KABUL – At least 50 civilians were killed and 130 injured in two different incidents in eastern and southern Afghanistan on Thursday.

The air raid on Wednesday night conducted by Afghan security forces, backed by US air support, was aimed at destroying a hideout used by Islamic State militants, but it accidentally targeted farmers near a field in eastern Afghanistan, three government officials told Reuters.

Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial council member in eastern Nangarhar province, said a drone strike killed 30 workers in a pine nut field and at least 40 others were injured.

The defense ministry in Kabul confirmed the strike but refused to share casualty details immediately.

US forces were not immediately available for comment.

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Meanwhile, a powerful early morning suicide truck bomb devastated a hospital in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing as many as 20 people and wounding more than 90 others, an official said.

The Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the bombing, have carried out nearly daily attacks since peace talks with the United States collapsed earlier this month.

Thursday's massive explosion destroyed part of the hospital in Qalat, the capital of southern Zabul province, and left a fleet of ambulances broken and battered.

In the hours immediately after the explosion, there were contradictory figures of the dead and wounded. The provincial governor's spokesman Gul Islam Seyal put the death toll at 12 but said authorities were on the scene sifting through the debris. Atta Jan Haqbayan, head of the provincial council, put the death toll at 20.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahed, said in a tweet said the target was a nearby intelligence office, which he claimed was destroyed and "tens of intelligence operatives killed/wounded."

Haqbayan said the wall of the National Security Department (NDS) building was damaged. He couldn't say whether any personnel were among the casualties.