Despite Assurances, 30 Afghan Farm Workers Killed in US Drone Strike

Village informed officials of harvest season weeks in advance

On Wednesday night, US forces carried out their latest disastrous air strike in Afghanistan. A US drone attacked and killed at least 30 civilians, and wounded 40 others in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province.

The victims of the attack were farm workers who were participating in the harvest of pine nuts in a village’s forest, and a number of children who were also there to take part in the harvest.

What adds insult to injury, however, was that the village elders had foreseen this as an issue, and specifically sent letters around to officials two weeks ago. The letters, dated September 7, were meant to assure that the gathering on the outskirts of the forest was nothing to do with militants, and was merely hired laborers for the harvest. They were assured this was not a problem.

So about 200 workers gathered around a camp on the edge of the forest, lit bonfires, and talked about the security situation at their respective villages of origin. Then the US drone arrived and started attacking the camp, sending survivors fleeing into the forest.

US officials downplayed the fact that there was a letter informing everyone what this camp was. The official statement was that the existence of the letter would be considered in the investigation.

At the same time, the US statement claimed they were trying to attack ISIS, and that their initial assessment was that they’d done so, even though every witness says it was all civilians.

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.