Men carry a coffin of one of the victims after a drone strike, in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Parwiz/File Photo

JALALABAD/KABUL (Reuters) - A senior U.S. defense official in Afghanistan's capital city Kabul on Friday said Islamic State fighters were hiding among pine nut harvesters when a U.S. drone strike in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 32 people.

The attack occurred in early hours of Thursday in Wazir Tangi area of Nangarhar province, causing high civilian casualties.

Provincial Afghan officials on Friday said 32 men and children were killed and more than 40 were injured in the strike.

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The F-35 is built to win wars against China and Russia, but since the United States is not fighting either country at the moment, it's mostly being used to bomb caves and weapons caches — a mission that older and cheaper aircraft can do just as well.

The Marine Corps' F-35B variant flew its first combat mission in September 2018 by dropping two bombs on a weapons cache in Afghanistan. The Air Force's F-35A's combat debut came in April, when two aircraft attacked an ISIS cave and tunnel complex in northeast Iraq.

More recently, F-35s joined F-15s in dropping 80,000 pounds of ordnance on Iraq's Qanus Island, which was "infested" with ISIS fighters, Army Col. Myles Caggins, spokesman for U.S. and coalition forces fighting ISIS, tweeted Sept. 10.

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Air Force is reviewing whether some airmen's valor awards deserve to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said on Tuesday.

Goldfein revealed that several airmen are being considered for the nation's highest military award during a press conference at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. He declined to say exactly who could receive the Medal of Honor, pending the outcome of the review process.

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamic State's media network on Monday issued an audio message purporting to come from its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi saying operations were taking place daily and urging freedom for women jailed in Iraq and Syria over their alleged links to the group.

"Daily operations are underway on different fronts," he said in the 30-minute tape published by the Al Furqan network, in what would be his first message since April. He cited several regions such as Mali and the Levant but gave no dates.

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Kentucky Air National Guard Special Ops Tech. Sgt. Daniel Keller (U.S. Air Force photo)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Kentucky Air National Guard Special Ops Tech. Sgt. Daniel Keller doesn't think his brave dash into the open during an ISIS firefight to help dead and wounded comrades is exceptional.

"It's a given; that's what you do," he told Military.com.

Keller is set to receive the nation's second-highest award for valor, the Air Force Cross, on Friday for his heroism in helping to medevac fallen troops during that battle in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.

"It's a necessary task that has to occur to get your friends the help they need," he said. "Whoever's available, they're going to do it."

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On September 10, U.S. and Iraqi forces dropped 80,000 pounds of munitions on Qanus Island, in Iraq's Salah-al-Din province, to destroy what Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) called a "safe haven" for ISIS fighters traveling from Syria into Iraq.

"We're denying Daesh the ability to hide on Qanus Island," said Maj. Gen. Eric T. Hill, commander of OIR's Special Operations Joint Task Force, said in a press release, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

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