US Drone Strike Kills 5 Afghan Soldiers
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American drone strike killed five Afghan National Army soldiers and wounded eight more Thursday morning, according to Afghan officials.
The attack took place at 3:20 a.m. in the Charkh district of Logar Province, an area of intense insurgent activity.
“We believe the strike was the result of poor coordination between the people on the ground and the operators of the drone,” said Din Mohammad Darwish, a spokesman for the governor of Logar Province, which is in eastern Afghanistan, neighboring Kabul Province, the New York Times reported.
“The area is frequented by insurgents both foreign and local, and drone strikes are carried out quite often in that part of Charkh,” Mr. Darwish said. “The ANA outpost was part of the security belt in the province.”
American officials said they would investigate the deaths.
“We can confirm that at least five Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel were accidentally killed this morning during an operation in eastern Afghanistan,” said Maj. Cathleen Snow, a spokesman for the American-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
“We value the strong relationship with our Afghan partners, and we will determine what actions will be taken to ensure that incidents like this do not happen again.”
Gen. Zaher Azimi, the spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, confirmed in a Twitter message on Thursday the death toll from what he called “an ISAF airstrike.”
While no hard data is available, the American military has apparently been using drones in Afghanistan with increasing frequency after strict controls were imposed on airstrikes to prevent civilian casualties, as well as complaints by the Afghan military that they were not getting adequate air support for their operations.