US Defends Attacking Afghan Farm Laborers, Says ISIS Was Pretending to Harvest

Local tribes had urged US, Afghan forces not to attack harvesters

Provincial officials remain deeply critical over Thursday’s US attack on the camp of a group of farm laborers in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar, killing at least 32 civilian farm workers and wounding 40 others, many of them children.

US officials, however, continue to maintain that what everyone in the region knew were hired hands for a pine nut harvest were actually ISIS fighters, claiming that the ISIS fighters were just pretending to work as harvesters.

There is no evidence for that, and a lot of evidence to the contrary, particularly that the village in question had written to top officials weeks ago to inform them of the upcoming harvest, the temporary camp, and asking them not to attack the economically vital harvest of the forest.

Afghan officials are promising an investigation, and locals in the village staged multiple protests against US forces after the attack. The US position that attacking the camp was legitimate, however, almost certainly precludes anything happening, despite all of the civilian victims.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.