Small Wars Journal

In Southern Afghanistan, US Airstrikes Kill Up to 18 Members of Afghan Forces

In Southern Afghanistan, U.S. Airstrikes Kill Up to 18 Members of Afghan Forces by Pamela Constable – Washington Post

U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan killed as many as 18 Afghan police officers late Thursday during heavy ground fighting with Taliban forces near the capital of Helmand province, Afghan officials and provincial leaders said Friday.

U.S. military officials here said the airstrikes, in what they described as a “tragic accident,” killed members of the Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters, but they did not say how many from each side died.

A spokesman for the U.S. military advisory mission here, Lt. Col. Dave Butler, said in a statement that Afghan security officials requested “precision air support” during heavy fighting and that U.S. military personnel had worked with Afghan coordinators. The coordinators “confirmed that the areas were clear of friendly forces,” he said. “Unfortunately, they were not, and a tragic accident resulted.”

U.S. officials are “examining the miscommunication to ensure it is not repeated,” Butler said. “We regret this tragic loss of life of our partners.”…

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