War-weary Afghanistan was hit with its third straight day of bloody carnage on Thursday, as a Taliban auto bomb flattened a hospital and killed 20 people in the south, while at least nine others died in a drone strike in the east.
The Taliban killed at least 10 people and wounded 90 Thursday after a vehicle bomb targeting an intelligence services building exploded and destroyed a nearby hospital in the southern Afghan city of Qalat, the governor of Zabul province told AFP.
About 14,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, training and advising Afghan security forces and conducting counter-insurgency operations against IS and the Taliban movement.
A U.S. drone missed its target-an ISIS hideout-and killed at least 30 farmers and laborers sitting around a bonfire in eastern Afghanistan this week.
USA forces in Kabul were not immediately available for a comment.
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A wounded man lies on a bed as he receives medical treatment at a hospital following a drone strike in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province on September 19, 2019.
At least 30 pine nut collectors were killed and 40 others wounded in the attack, according to Ajmal Ummer, a provincial assembly member. President Donald Trump's halt to U.S. -Taliban talks looks like a gift to the beleaguered Afghan president, who has insisted on holding a key election in less than three weeks' time despite widespread expectations that a peace deal would push it aside.
Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor said the aerial attack was meant to target IS militants who often use farmlands for training and recruitment purposes, but had hit innocent civilians.
Earlier this week, the Taliban killed almost 50 people and wounded dozens more in two separate attacks - one near a campaign rally for President Ashraf Ghani in the central province of Parwan, and one in Kabul.
Residents near the blast, which was claimed by the Taliban, said the explosion rattled homes and shattered windows and was followed by gunfire. More than nine million people are expected to vote in the presidential election on September 28.