At least seven militants killed in a US. Drone strike near the Pakistan border in Kunar province, an Afghan official said late Thursday.
The provincial police chief of Kunar, Gen. Abdul Habib Sayedkhili confirmed the drone strike; adding the strike in Khas district of Kunar province targeted a group of militants that has been operating in the region for the past year.
Sayedkhili said the leader of the group and his son were among the dead. All seven had been traveling in a vehicle at the time of the strike.
Long the favored hideout of insurgents, Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar Province saw more than half of all Taliban and Al Qaeda attacks in 2009; little wonder, then, that U.S. and NATO forces commonly referred to it as “Enemy Central.” And yet, within a few months of when these photographs were taken, most NATO troops were scheduled to be withdrawn from Kunar, leaving its protection to the Afghan National Army.
Many ordinary residents of Kunar feared that the withdrawal of NATO troops would allow Islamist militants to turn the province into a stronghold, imposing harsh Islamic rule. Few Afghans were confident that the ANA would be able to keep the Taliban out.