US friendly fire kills at least eight Afghan policemen in Helmand
23 July, 2017, 01:11
The Taliban controls several districts in Helmand, the largest Afghan province and a major poppy growing region.
"The police had recaptured a post from the enemy, and it was hit by mistake with the belief that the Taliban fighters were still dug in there after they took the post on Thursday", Hayat toldthe Washington Post.
Confirming the Friday airstrike on Afghan national security forces, the Pentagon described the attack as a friendly-fire incident and issued a statement of condolences for the victims. Hayat also said numerous security forces were not in uniform, which may have caused some confusion about their identities.
The friendly fire incident happened in the Gereshk district where intense fighting was raging between Afghan forces and Taliban insurgents.
In the northeastern Badakhshan province, the Taliban killed at least 32 members of the local police and government-aligned uprising groups in a push to capture Tagaq district.
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Speaking to local TOLO television channel, Defense Ministry spokesman Waziri said the security post hit by the drone had also fallen to the Taliban and coordinates were shared with the USA military so it could bomb the installation and evict the insurgents.
Among the dead were two commanders of the Afghan national police, Nasir and Mohammad Wali, locally renowned for their longstanding fight against the Taliban. Taliban have in the past exaggerated their successes and the remoteness of the area makes it near impossible to independently verify.
Khpolwak says the buses were travelling from Kandahar's Shah Wali Kot District to neighboring Uruzgan province when they came under attack.
In the latest updates, the Defense Ministry said 20 militants had been killed. The remaining 33 are still being held by insurgents.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, nor is it known whether any ransom demands have been made. The US air campaign in Afghanistan has reached a level not seen since 2012, when there were nearly 10 times as many US troops in the country.
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