United States forces kill 17 police officers, injure 14 in Afghanistan by mistake

Afghanistan: Air attack kills 8 policemen 'by mistake'

The incident took place in the restive southern Helmand province's Neher-e-Siraj district late on Thursday. He also says 14 policemen were wounded in the strike.

Helmand Governor Mohammad Yasin and government officials in Kabul said the air strike was being investigated.

The New York Times also reported that Taliban fighters had spies on the base, an Afghan lieutenant colonel and a sergeant major, who helped the militants hide.

The Taliban said in a statement that US forces were behind the strikes, but a spokesman for the Helmand governor, Omar Zwak, said it was not clear whether Afghan or foreign forces had carried them out.

At least 11 other policemen were wounded in the clashes, the ministry said. There was no immediate response to a query to the US military in Kabul.

'Unfortunately, they were not and a tragic accident resulted. "But the ill-fated police unit was struck by an airstrike near the area, leaving the casualties", the source said, adding police chief Habib was among those killed. "We regret this tragic loss of life of our partners and are committed to improvement every day with every mission", said the USA military spokesman.

The incident occurred during a period of sustained and widespread fighting between Taliban fighters and USA -backed Afghan forces that has gone on for months and caused heavy casualties among both Afghan troops and civilians.

The Afghan forces "confirmed the areas were clear of friendly forces", Butler said.

In one of the deadliest, 16 Afghan policemen were killed in 2017 when they were mistakenly targeted by U.S. air strikes in Helmand.

Further details about the incident are still forthcoming amid the absence of any official statement.

The Taliban insurgents control or contest more than half of Helmand's districts and regularly deliver heavy blows to Afghan forces, who have been struggling to hold off insurgents across the country.

The United States is holding direct negotiations with the Taliban to bring an end to the war and to try to encourage the insurgents to engage in an intra-Afghan peace dialogue.

The Taliban has so far rejected ceasefire proposals, saying U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops must first withdraw from Afghanistan.



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