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article imageUS Afghan airstrike wipes out unit of Afghan security forces

By Ken Hanly     Jun 13, 2019 in World
For a second time in less than a month US airstrikes carried out in "self defense" turned out to be actually attacking Afghan security forces. The strike yesterday ended up wiping out an entire unit but the exact number of deaths have yet to be disclosed,
Previous attack said to kill 17 and wound 11
According to a recent article the previous attack in the middle of May killed 18. At the time a report cited in a Digital Journal article listed just 17 killed but one could have died from wounds. In that attack the US believed their ground troops came under fire and the airstrikes actually targeted the Afghan forces who had been firing machine guns.
In spite of talk of US troops being under fire not a single US casualty was suffered. The US expressed regret at the deaths of their Afghan partners.
The US blamed the deaths on false Afghan information: "Afghan spokesperson Colonel Dave Butler said: “During heavy fighting with the Taliban in Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, our Afghan National Defense and security partners requested precision air support. 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.""
An investigation into the incident is to be made
US Afghan spokesperson Col. David Butler had praised the operation as being extensively planned and coordinated with Afghan forces in order to ensure that what happened before did not happen again. But it did.
An investigation is promised but these investigations seem to often not end and more is not publicly revealed. With the withdrawal of most US ground forces from Afghanistan, the US has launched more air operations in support of the Afghan forces. This has resulted in more civilian deaths as well as more friendly fire incidents such as this one.
More about Afghanistan, friendly fire deaths in Afghanistan, US Afghan relations
 
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