US airstrike kills 5 Afghan police: NATO

US airstrike kills 5 Afghan police: NATO
Thu Aug 1, 2013 19:38:54

A US airstrike has killed at least five Afghan policemen during a joint operation against insurgents in the eastern province of Nangarhar, NATO says.

Afghan and US forces called for aerial support while fighting in Nangarhar, the US-led NATO coalition said on Thursday, with local officials reporting special forces were reacting to an insurgent attack on a police post.

"We can confirm five Afghan police were accidently killed yesterday (Wednesday)," Lieutenant Colonel Will Griffin, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), told AFP.

"It was a combined ANSF (Afghan National Security Force) and ISAF operation and it was a combined call for supporting aerial fire which resulted in the deaths of five Afghan policemen.

"Our condolences go out to the families of the policemen who lost their lives."

Civilian casualties from US airstrikes have often provoked a furious reaction from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the deaths of the five policemen come at a sensitive time for Afghan-US relations.

With the US-led NATO force due to withdraw its 100,000 combat troops by the end of next year, the Afghan police and army are increasingly taking responsibility for thwarting the insurgency that erupted after the Taliban were ousted in 2001.


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