Multiple Afghan police officers were reportedly killed in U.S. airstrikes in the southern part of Afghanistan on Thursday.
Afghan officials told The Washington Post that people were killed in U.S. airstrikes but gave inconsistent information on the number of fatalities, saying that between eight and 18 people were killed and 14 were wounded.
U.S. military officials told The Post that Afghan and Taliban forces were killed, but did not say how many casualties there were.
Lt. Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for the U.S. military advisory mission in Afghanistan, told the newspaper in a statement that Afghan authorities asked for “precision air support.” He added that Afghan coordinators “confirmed that the areas were clear of friendly forces,” but “unfortunately, they were not, and a tragic accident resulted.”
Butler added that the U.S. is “examining the miscommunication to ensure it is not repeated.”
“We regret this tragic loss of life of our partners,” he said.
The Taliban told The Post in a statement that U.S. forces carried out the strikes but the office of the governor of Afghanistan’s Helmand province told the newspaper it was not sure if the strikes were done by Afghan or foreign authorities.
The Taliban and U.S.-supported Afghan fighters have been in conflict for months.
“During heavy fighting with the Taliban in Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, our Afghan National Defense and security partners requested precision air support,” USFOR-A spokesman Dave Butler said. “We support our Afghan security partners, we deconflicted the requested support with an Afghan coordination unit to ensure the areas were clear of friendly forces. They reported and confirmed the areas were clear of friendly forces. Unfortunately, they were not and a tragic accident resulted. Afghan Security Forces as well as Taliban fighters were killed in the strikes. We’re examining the miscommunication to ensure it is not repeated. We regret this tragic loss of life of our partners and are committed to improvement every day with every mission.”
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