US Friendly Fire Kills Afghan Troops

US Friendly Fire Kills Afghan TroopsUS Friendly Fire Kills Afghan Troops

A NATO airstrike hit two Afghan military checkpoints on Monday in a restive province east of the capital Kabul, killing seven Afghan troops in what an Afghan official describes as an accident due to bad coordination.

The incident happened as coalition helicopters were flying over an area in Logar Province where clashes were underway between Afghan troops and Taliban fighters, the Afghan Ministry of Defense said, AP reported.

Insurgents fired toward the helicopters, prompting a response that destroyed one army checkpoint, the ministry statement added. An unspecified number of the army members were “killed and wounded,” the ministry said, adding that the incident was under investigation.

An Afghan official put the toll at 14 in what was “likely a mistake.”

“At 6:00 a.m. (local time) Monday morning, two US helicopters attacked a checkpoint in Baraki Barak district of Logar. The checkpoint caught fire ... and 14 Afghan Army soldiers were killed,” district governor Mohammad Rahim Amin said.

Security in Logar has deteriorated in recent months as the Taliban stepped up their attacks on Afghan soldiers and security forces, trying to spread their footprint across the country and take control of some remote regions.

The US and NATO forces concluded their combat mission at the end of last year and Afghan troops have since taken control of the country’s security, which has caused their casualties to spike.