Afghan police killed in United States strike

Afghan police killed in United States strike

Afghan police killed in United States strike

In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Safi said the victims were police officers who were operating with the army in the area.

A U.S. friendly fire airstrike killed 12 Afghan police officers in the restive southern Helmand province on Friday, a local news agency cited its sources as saying.

At least 16 Afghan policemen were mistakenly killed and two others injured in USA airstrikes in southern Helmand province's Gereshk district.

A statement from the United States military confirmed the killings, saying, "aerial fires resulted in the deaths of the friendly Afghan forces who were gathered in a compound". Hayat also said numerous security forces were not in uniform, which may have caused some confusion about their identities.

"In the strike, 16 Afghan policemen were killed including two commanders".

According to USA military headquarters in Kabul, the United States has carried out 52 airstrikes in Helmand over the past five days, including 10 in Gereshk on Thursday.

In the latest updates, the Defense Ministry said 20 militants had been killed.

The strike hit Afghans who were in a compound that local media describe as a security outpost in a village that had come under attack by the Taliban in the Gereshk district.

"Two other policemen were wounded", Helmand police spokesman Salam Afghan told AFP.

"They (Afghan forces) were not wearing uniforms and that was when the unmanned aircraft mistook them with the Taliban and attacked them", Waziri explained. It wasn't immediately clear if they had been kidnapped or whether they had escaped. Since the worldwide drawdown in 2014, the Taliban has seized territory across the province, leaving the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, and the economic hub, Gereshk, as some of the only areas still in government hands.

Bigzad says the area of the fighting is tucked inside a mountainous region where access is restricted and even telephone contact is erratic. "An accurate number of casualties and details of the incident will be announced later", said Hayatullah Hayat, the provincial governor of Helmand. Claims of his attack were made in separate notes. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Afghanistan, has pledged to drive the terror group out of the country by the end of 2017.

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