Five Afghan police accidentally killed in US air strike

Accidental casualties caused by Western air strikes are a major source of friction between Afghanistan and US.

Reuters August 01, 2013
An Afghan security serviceman keep watch at a damaged police post following an airstrike in Bati Kot district in Nangarhar province on August 1, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

KABUL: Afghanistan's NATO-led force has launched an investigation into the accidental killing of five Afghan policemen in a US air attack during an overnight operation that injured two others, the force said on Thursday.

Accidental casualties caused by Western air strikes are a major source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his international allies.

The Wednesday night incident, in which two policemen were wounded, comes as the United States is attempting to restart stalled talks with Karzai's government on the size of a military presence after most international troops leave next year.

Afghan Special Forces called for the air support during a clash with a group of Taliban fighters at a police checkpoint, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor of the eastern province of Nangarhar, where the incident happened.

"A US aircraft engaged, inadvertently killing five Afghan National Police members and wounding two," said Master Sergeant Bryan Gatewood, a spokesman for the NATO-led force.

"An investigation is ongoing to determine additional details of this unfortunate incident."

Afghan security forces do not possess a significant air force and foreign air power is considered critical to cover the mountainous regions near the Pakistani border, which have long been insurgent hot spots.

But accidental Afghan casualties in air strikes, particularly civilians, infuriate Karzai who had previously ordered a ban on his troops calling the airstrikes in.


Victim | 10 years ago | Reply

Nice effort @Jason Sim. Vast majority of Muslims do not see an ordinary American as an evil but I am not sure if vast majority of Westerners see an ordinary Muslim as peace loving and not-terrorist. It is the American military, as you have mentioned, which attacked countries all around the world, in the recent history, including the non-Muslim ones. Further it is the US government, be it democrat or republican, which continued supporting unpopular dictators in select Muslim and non-Muslim countries to achieve US foreign policy objectives, which presumably safeguards the interest of a common US citizen. As soon as these two contradictions rectified, you will see that the hatred against the US around the world will come down.

arif | 10 years ago | Reply

This is a huge tragedy for sure. In this case it says the Afghan Special Forces called in the air strike, they should not have called in the air strike if their coworkers were at such risk.

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