Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)



KABUL: A NATO airstrike hit two Afghan military checkpoint­s on Monday in a restive province east of the capital, Kabul, killing seven Afghan troops in what an Afghan official described as an accident due to bad coordinati­on.

The Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, expressed his ‘profound sorrow’ over the tragedy and ordered an investigat­ion into the killings.

The incident happened as coalition helicopter­s were flying over an area in Logar province where clashes were underway between Afghan troops and Taliban fighters, the Afghan Ministry of Defense said.

Insurgents fired toward the helicopter­s, prompting a response that destroyed one army checkpoint, the ministry statement added. An unspecifie­d number of the army members were killed and wounded, the ministry said, adding that the incident was under investigat­ion.

Logar provincial army commander Abdul Razaq said the early morning strike took place in the district of Baraki Barak, about 50 kilometres east of Kabul. Logar police chief Mohammad Douod Ahmadi confirmed those casualty figures.

District governor Mohammad Rahim Amin said the NATO airstrike was ‘likely a mistake, due to bad coordinati­on’ in an area where Taliban insurgents are highly active.

A US military spokesman in Afghanista­n said the coalition is aware of an incident in Logar and is investigat­ing it.

According to a statement from Ghani’s office, the Afghan president appointed a team to ‘comprehens­ively probe the incident and come up with clarificat­ion surroundin­g the airstrike’. Ghani also urged the internatio­nal forces to ‘take maximum precaution­s’ not to harm Afghan civilians and troops in their future operations.

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