Afghans Report Firefight Involving US Troops

Elias Hubbard
March 15, 2019

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said 20 soldiers had been killed, 28 captured and a large supply of weapons and ammunition seized.Southeast of the Afghan capital, Kabul, in Ghazni city, an air strike on a vehicle killed seven Taliban on Tuesday, including a commander, said Mohammad Arif Noori, spokesman for Ghazni's provincial governor.

After almost 17 years of the armed conflict, the Afghan government controls around 55 per cent of the territory, while the Taliban control around 11 per cent, with the rest being disputed, according to the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

The Afghan military is already losing bases left and right to Taliban offensives, and on Wednesday lost another army post, this time in Uruzgan, where U.S. warplanes attacked and destroyed an army post, which Pentagon officials described as a checkpoint.

The NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Kabul said the United States conducted precision self-defense air strikes on people firing on Afghan and American forces who were conducting a ground movement near an Afghan army checkpoint.

Seventeen soldiers had been at the post in total, with only two managing to flee unhurt, Karimi said.

"This attack was caused due to lack of proper coordination", a ministry official told Reuters.

An ANA soldier keeps watch at a checkpoint on the Ghazni- Kabul highway in Afghanistan
The Afghan government has gradually lost its hold on more and more of the country in recent years Credit Reuters

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Qais Mangal confirmed on Wednesday that there has been an incident involving a firefight in Uruzgan, but couldn't provide any more details.

The NATO spokesman said the U.S. had carried out "precision self-defense air strikes on people firing on Afghan and American forces conducting a ground movement near an ANA check point in Tarin Kot".

Afghan officials are reporting that there has been a friendly fire incident in southern Uruzgan province involving USA and Afghan forces and leading to the death of five Afghan troops.

"I counted that the planes were shooting at the base for some 30 minutes", Haji Lal Agha, a local resident, said over the phone.

Incidents known as "friendly fire" are not unheard of in Afghanistan, and have bred deep mistrust between local and foreign forces.

In one of the worst recent incidents, a U.S. aircraft killed at least 12 Afghan policemen in the southern province of Helmand in July 2017.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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