Amnesty International said the bombing “suggests a shocking disregard for civilian life.”
A U.S. drone attack killed 30 pine nut farmers and wounded at least 40 others in Afghanistan Wednesday night, the latest killing of innocent civilians by American forces as the “war on terror” enters its 19th year.
“Some of us managed to escape, some were injured, but many were killed.”
—Juma Gul, farm worker
The farmers had just finished work and were sitting by a fire when the strike happened, according to tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul.
“Some of us managed to escape, some were injured, but many were killed,” said farm laborer Juma Gul.
Retuers reported that there may be more farmers missing:
Haidar Khan, who owns the pine nut fields, said about 150 workers were there for harvesting, with some still missing as well as the confirmed dead and injured.
A survivor of the drone strike said about 200 laborers were sleeping in five tents pitched near the farm when the attack happened.
In a statement, Colonel Sonny Leggett, the spokesman for the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan, said the attack was aimed at “Da’esh (IS) terrorists in Nangarhar” province.
“We are aware of allegations of the death of non-combatants and are working with local officials to determine the facts,” said Leggett.
However, Leggett said, the blame for the massacre is squarely on IS and the Taliban—not U.S. forces.
“We are fighting in a complex environment against those who intentionally kill and hide behind civilians, as well as use dishonest claims of noncombatant casualties as propaganda weapons,” Leggett said.
Human rights group Amnesty International, in a statement, said that the strike was “unacceptable and suggests a shocking disregard for civilian life.”
“U.S. forces in Afghanistan must ensure that all possible precautions are taken to avoid civilian casualties in military operations,” said Amnesty.
In a tweet, journalist Emran Feroz said his reporting from the region indicates that the reality of U.S. policy with respect to attacks in Nangarhar is different than Leggett’s claims.
“Seems that recent drone strikes in Nangarhar’s Khogyani district ended in a total massacre killing far more than 30 civilians,” said Feroz. “When I visited Khogyani in 2017, locals told us that drone strikes against farmers and other civilians are taking place regularly.”
Rita Siemion, the director of National Security Advocacy at Human Rights First, told Common Dreams that the U.S. military cannot allow strikes to kill innocent civilians.
“Mistakes can happen, but this strike is part of a pattern that suggests that there are serious flaws in the Pentagon’s targeting processes that need to be addressed,” said Siemion. “Knowingly using a process that fails to adequately distinguish between civilians and combatants would violate the laws of war and be detrimental to the overall mission.”
In a tweet, The Intercept‘s Mehdi Hasan noted just how little attention the massacre perpetrated by the U.S. military was likely to receive.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted Thursday that Americans should pay attention to the attack and try to put themselves in Afghan shoes.
“It is so easy to read this and be upset or shake your head and still see it as an abstraction,” said Hayes. “But take a second to play through a missile from, say, Iran landing in Iowa and killing 30 farmers and what that would do to domestic politics.”
GOP lawmaker in Tennessee admits to prescribing opioids to his second cousin — who was also his lover
Tennessee state Sen. Joey Hensley (R) is under investigation by a medical review board for providing opioids to family members, one of which was his second cousin -- who also happened to be his lover, the Tennessean reports.
Hensley, an anti-LGBT ideologue who wrote his state's infamous "Don't Say Gay" bill, admits that he prescribed drugs for his relatives, but says he's the only doctor in town.
“There are not many people in the county who haven’t been to see Dr. Hensley, and she was one of them,” defense attorney David Steed said, adding, “Half of the county are Hensleys. Everyone there knows everyone. There were multiple relationships and the physician-patient relationship was only one and somewhat incidental to the others.”
West Virginia voter: ‘I’ll probably vote for Donald Trump’ because ‘he keeps the people to the TV set’
A group of West Virginia voters explained their voting choices to MSNBC on Monday.
"I don't have TV, I don't have internet," one woman said. "I'm pretty far behind. And I bet you a lot of around here are because we're poor. I don't know nothing about Joe [Biden]. I ain't never heard nothing about him at all. Donald Trump, I know a little bit about him because of the past couple of years."
"I'll probably vote for Donald Trump," Jeff Kibbey told MSNBC. "He keeps the people to the TV set."
"One, Trump is good," Francis Senter insisted. "Biden -- however you pronounce his name -- is good too. But like I say, I can't judge either one of them. It's the same community it ain't never going to change because if it was going to change it wouldn't look like this right here."
White nationalist group ‘training for violence’ as Trump’s defeat grows likelier: report
On Tuesday, BuzzFeed News reported that Patriot Front, a white supremacist group formed from the collapse of groups that participated in the Charlottesville neo-Nazi riots, is preparing for civil unrest as they believe President Donald Trump's re-election is a lost cause.
"BuzzFeed News has received a cache of hundreds of messages exchanged by Patriot Front members on Rocket.Chat, an encrypted group messaging app," reported Jane Lytvynenko. "In logs of the chats, all from this year, around 280 members of the group discuss grandiose goals — creating a white ethnostate from the existing United States. The group wants to expel immigrants, people of color, and Jews, remaking the fabric of America."