PULI ALAM: A North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) airstrike in eastern Afghanistan accidentally killed five Afghan soldiers on Thursday, the latest incident likely to worsen already fraught relations between Kabul and the United States-led coalition.
NATO offered its condolences over the deaths and vowed action to avoid further mistakes, but President Hamid Karzai has often seized on botched airstrikes to launch bitter criticism of the international military effort in Afghanistan.
“At 3:30 a.m. this morning, due to a NATO airstrike in Charkh district, Logar province, five service members of the Afghan national army were martyred and eight others were wounded,” defense ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said on his Twitter account.
Khalilullah Kamal, the Charkh district governor, said he had visited the site of the attack, which he said was from a US drone.
“The post is totally destroyed,” he said. “The Americans used to be in that post but since they left, the ANA [Afghan National Army] took over. The post is on a hilltop. The attack was conducted by drones.”
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) issued a statement confirming that at least five Afghan soldiers had been killed accidentally.
“An investigation is being conducted at this time to determine the circumstances that led to this unfortunate incident. Our condolences go out to the families of the ANA soldiers who lost their lives and were wounded . . . we will determine what actions will be taken to ensure incidents like this do not happen again,”it said.