US Accidentally Launches Airstrike on Own Troops

5 dead in one of deadliest friendly-fire incidents in Afghanistan

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 10, 2014 6:00 AM CDT | Updated Jun 10, 2014 7:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – A coalition aircraft strike killed five American Special Ops troops and at least one Afghan soldier last night, US and Afghan officials tell the New York Times. The war in Afghanistan has seen more than a dozen instances of friendly-fire killings, but this was among the deadliest, the paper notes. When Taliban fighters ambushed the troops, they sought backup from the air. But the aircraft accidentally hit the coalition position in Zabul province.

A NATO statement on the incident noted that "tragically, there is the possibility that fratricide may have been involved," CNN reports, adding that fratricide, in military terms, refers to friendly fire. "There were no Taliban casualties from the airstrike, but we had killed many of them during the day’s operation," an Afghan police chief tells the Washington Post. The US is investigating the incident, military officials tell the Post. The troops were involved in security ahead of Saturday's presidential runoff.

Afghan National Army soldiers stand guard during a military exercise on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, April 30, 2014.
Afghan National Army soldiers stand guard during a military exercise on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, April 30, 2014.   (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
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