5 US troops killed Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Five American special operations troops were killed by a U.S. airstrike called in to help them after they were ambushed by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, in one of the deadliest friendly fire incidents in nearly 14 years of war, officials said Tuesday.
The deaths were a fresh reminder that the conflict is nowhere near over for some U.S. troops, who will keep fighting for at least two more years.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the five American troops were killed Monday “during a security operation in southern Afghanistan.”
“Investigators are looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen,” Kirby said in a statement.
In Washington, two U.S. defense officials said the five Americans were special operations force members, but they were not more specific. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because notification of the families of the five had not yet been completed.
The deaths occurred during a joint operation of Afghan and NATO forces in the Arghandab district of southern Zabul province ahead of Saturday’s presidential runoff election, said provincial police chief Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Rooghlawanay. After the operation was over, the troops came under attack from the Taliban and called in air support, he said.
“Unfortunately five NATO soldiers and one Afghan army officer were killed mistakenly by NATO airstrike,” Rooghlawanay said.
There was no way to independently confirm Rooghlawanay’s comments. The coalition would not comment and NATO headquarters in Brussels also declined to comment.
FILE - In this file photo provide byMedecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), taken on Friday, March 28, 2014, healthcare workers from the organization, prepare isolation and treatment areas for their Ebola, hemorrhagic fever operations, in Gueckedou, Guinea. One preacher advocated fasting and prayer to spare people from a virus that usually leads to a horrible death. Some people pray that the Ebola virus stays confined to a rural district. Others are unruffled and say the outbreak will blow over.