US Airstrike Kills 16 Afghan Police In Helmand

Michele Moreno
July 23, 2017

Several Afghan security personnel were mistakenly killed in a U.S. air strike in Helmand province on Friday, NATO and Afghan officials said.

Sixteen Afghan policemen were killed in a United States air strike in the southern province of Helmand, media reports said. A gunship mistakenly attacked the police 30 minutes later.

Abdul Rehman died in suicide bombing in Greshik district of Helmand, where Taliban are involved in heavy fighting with the Afghan security forces.

The incident followed a week of intensified U.S. airstrikes in Helmand.

Afghan and USA forces launched an offensive against ISIS in early March. Taliban have in the past exaggerated their successes and the remoteness of the area made it impossible to independently verify.

Grishk police chief, Mohammad Ismail Khpalwak, said over ten members of the police force were killed in the strike.

Some reports say at least 10 police officers were killed, while local officials put the figure at 35.

A statement from the U.S. military confirmed the killings, saying, "aerial fires resulted in the deaths of the friendly Afghan forces who were gathered in a compound".

However, the U.S. military did not provide the number of casualties. The US air campaign in Afghanistan has reached a level not seen since 2012, when there were nearly 10 times as many US troops in the country. "And an investigation has been launched into the incident to determine the facts behind the regrettable incident", said a government statement.

Another U.S. airstrike in October 2015 destroyed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan and left 42 people dead.

The deaths in Helmand added to a particularly bloody day for the Afghan police.

The governor of Afghanistan's northern Badakshan's Province also announced on July 22 that 11 policeman were killed and six wounded during a fight with Taliban insurgents.

Other reports by Insurance News

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