On Friday, US drones attacked a funeral in Afghanistan’s Khost Province, tearing through a crowd of mourners and leaving at least 34 of them dead. The funeral was reportedly for a Taliban fighter, and the Afghan government insisted that by extension, all the mourners must’ve been Taliban too.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the strike, but insisted a number of the victims were innocent civilians from the nomadic tribe the slain fighter was a member of . Afghan MPs from the region similarly claimed a number of civilians were slain.
Oddly, while everyone else was reporting the attack was on a funeral inside a cemetery, Khost provincial police claimed the US strike was against Taliban forces who were “running away” from the police along the Pakistan border.
Civilian tolls in US strikes have posed a huge problem for Afghan governments in the past, and former President Hamid Karzai’s feckless criticism both angered locals (since it never seemed to stop future attacks) and alienated him from the US. So far, President Ghani seems to be trying to avoid comment on such incidents.