NATO Strike Kills 5 Afghan Troops

Allies 'weren't clear' Afghans were in the area
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2010 5:36 AM CDT
Afghan troops stand at attention as they are addressed by Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Kabul, on Wednesday, March 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Jim Watson, Pool)

(Newser) – NATO mistakenly killed five of its Afghan army allies in an airstrike today while the Afghans were attacking insurgents in the country's east. The Afghan soldiers were launching an ambush before dawn against insurgents in Ghazni province when NATO aircraft began firing on them without warning, the AP reports. An Afghan defense official condemned the latest "friendly fire" deaths, which came as international troops are trying to improve coordination with Afghan forces in hopes of handing over more security to them.

Five Afghan soldiers died and two more were wounded in the airstrike in Ghazni's Andar district. A NATO spokesman said a joint investigation has been launched. "The reason for this is perhaps a coordination issue," he said. "We were obviously not absolutely clear whether there were Afghan national security forces in the area."

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