– AFGHAN POLICE KILLED BY USA STRIKE
Six Afghan policemen and a civilian have been killed, on Wednesday 12/10/2008 morning, in air strikes after a clash with US-led Special Forces in the South of the country near Zabul, USA officials say. Thirteen other policemen were wounded.
Zabul’s deputy police chief said an investigation had begun into what the USA military said was a case of mistaken identity by both parties.
Correspondents say so-called friendly fire incidents between USA or NATO-ISAF and Afghan forces happen frequently.
Gulab Shah Alikhail, Zabul’s deputy governor, told the AP news agency that US Special Forces were carrying out an attack against militants near a police checkpoint on the outskirts of provincial capital Qalat.
The police, thinking it was a Taliban attack, opened fire, he said. Then a helicopter fired on the security post and destroyed it. A US military statement confirmed the Americans returned fire on the police but only later learned their identities. USa Special Forces did not inform the police they were going to the village because of fears their plans could be passed on to the Taliban by sympathetic officials (see – Kunar Report ).
The US statement said that the target of Wednesday’s raid was a militant commander “known to co-ordinate attacks against coalition forces along Highway One”. US military officials claimed that the commander was killed in the operation.
In October, at least nine Afghan soldiers were killed in the eastern province of Khost by American airstrikes – after being mistakenly identified as Taliban insurgents.
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