Five Afghan army allies were said to be killed mistakenly by NATO airstrike Wednesday. Officials said that this happened while they were attacking insurgents in the country’s east.
Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, the Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman said that the Afghan soldiers were launching an ambush before dawn against insurgents reportedly on the move in Ghazni province when the NATO aircraft began firing on them without warning.
Azimi reported that these were five Afghan soldiers who died in the accident and there were also two who were wounded in the airstrike that was said to happen in Ghazni’s Andar district.
“This is not the first time such an incident has happened, bu twe wish that at least this would be the last one,” Azimi said.
The latest deaths of allied troops, which is dubbed as “friendly fire” deaths, was given much attention of the two forces. International troops are trying to improve coordination with Afghan security forces to avoid this kind of incident all over again and to hand over more responsibility in aiding the country’s war which is running for nearly nine years now.
The aim is to win over the population by limiting Afghan casualties while securing new areas, eventually turning control over to local army and police and allowing foreign troops to withdraw.
NATO spokesman Josef Blotz had confirmed the incident and he said that he regretted the Afghan National Army deaths. He told a news briefing that a joint investigation has been launched.
“The reason for this is perhaps coordination issue,” said Blotz. “We were obviously not absolutely clear whether there were Afghan national security forces in the area.”
Blotz had extended the personal condolences of U.S. Gen. David Petraeus to the families of the victims.
Three American soldiers were also reported killed on Wednesday in a roadside bombing in the south according to NATO.
Also, a NATO airstrike had killed several suspected insurgents and led to the arrest of several others in Paktika province.
NATO is counting on the strategy to beat back the insurgents’ recent gains, nearly nine years after U.S. – baked forces toppled the Taliban’s hard-line Islamist regime.
This violence that has been increasing across Afghanistan, is said to coincide with the arrival of thousands of American soldiers. Their new push is to try to establish Afghan government control in the south which is one of the Taliban’s strongest area of influence.