Afghanistan: Nangarhar residents speak of fear and civilian casualties from US drone strikes *EXCLUSIVE*

Residents of Basakhel, Nangarhar province, relayed harrowing stories of US drone strikes and night time raids carried out in their village on Saturday. Many innocent civilians, women and children included, are dying as a result, citizens say. «Many times the US night raids have not been a success and civilians are victims of the damage, and [become] casualties,» stated one villager. «Some time... Еще ago, they attacked our village and captured the barbers of our village. After the capture and search they realised that they were not bad people and they [the barbers] were freed,» he added. «The villagers are faced with a kind of anxiety,» said another. «US jets fly over and patrol anytime, therefore civilians are [living] in fear and turning off their mobiles and removing sim cards [...] these are the issues that people are faced with it. Now people are trying to not use their phones.» Nangarhar province governor spokesperson Ataullah Khogyani explained that militants often use civilian houses «as their position against US and Afghan forces» and as a result of «a [US or Afghan] operation they are faced with damage and casualties.» Eastern Nangarhar has been subject to a high level of US bombing campaigns in recent months. In July alone, half of the US airstrikes carried out in Afghanistan — at least 358 — took place in the eastern province, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Over 26,500 civilians have been killed and just under 49,000 injured in the ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistan since January 2009, according to UN reports.

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