US Drone Fired Missile Into a ‘Crowd of Suspects,’ Killing 13 Afghans

Three Others Killed in Smaller Drone Strike

As the fighting in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province continues to pick up, US forces have killed 16 people described as “suspected militants” in a pair of drone strikes on opposite sides of the province.

The larger of the attacks came in the town of Now Zad, once described as a “ghost town” by NATO and declared “liberated” in a December invasion. The US Predator Drone fired a Hellfire missile into what officials are describing as a “crowd of suspects” killing 13 and wounding three.

Exactly what made the reportedly unarmed crowd a “crowd of suspects” is unclear, but Marines that attacked the town at roughly the same time claim to have found ammunition and a “Taliban torture cell.” US forces seemed quite pleased with the attack on the crowd, declaring “we caught them with their pants down.”

A smaller attack claimed three others, whom officials described as “armed fighters.” A separate incident in Helmand Province yesterday also claimed 13 civilians, when NATO and Afghan forces opened fire on protesters in Garmsir village.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.