At least eight Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were killed in a U.S. airstrike at an army checkpoint in eastern Logar province early on Monday, according to local media reports. The airstrike, which took place at about 7:30 a.m. local time (11:00 p.m. EDT Sunday), also wounded 5 other soldiers.
“The Afghan flag was waving at the checkpoint in Baraki Barak when the Americans launched their attack,” Mohammad Rahim Amin, governor of the district, told Agence France-Presse (AFP), adding that the checkpoint was “not a suspicious area.”
A local police official told TOLO News that “foreign troops” had accidentally attacked the checkpoint instead of the original target 0.6 miles from it. “It [the airstrike] was not coordinated with us,” the police official, identified as Mohammad Daoud Ahmadi, reportedly said.
A U.S. military spokesman, meanwhile, acknowledged that an “incident” had taken place in Logar province.
“We are aware of an incident involving U.S. forces in Logar province this morning. The incident is under investigation,” Col. Brian Tribus, a U.S. Military spokesman in Afghanistan, reportedly said.
Currently, there are about 10,000 international troops in Afghanistan -- down from 2011’s peak number of about 140,000 -- who are training and advising Afghan forces.
Meanwhile, U.S.-led NATO forces have continued to carry out airstrikes in the region. In June, for instance, the U.S. Army carried out 106 airstrikes targeting Taliban positions in Afghanistan -- a significant increase over previous months, when the number of airstrikes averaged at about 40.
Deaths of civilians and Afghan army personnel in “friendly fire” has become a contentious issue in the country. In a similar incident in Logar province in December last year, five civilians were killed in a NATO airstrike, triggering angry protests in the region.