Police: Errant US bombing kills 12 Afghan security forces
An errant U.S. airstrike confirmed by the Pentagon killed 12 Afghan National Police officers and wounded two others, as another 11 police were killed and six wounded in clashes with the Taliban, Afghan officials said Saturday.
The death toll in Friday’s airstrike was determined after a site inspection of the compound in the Gereshk district, said Helmand provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Safi.
The United States in a statement confirmed that the airstrike on the Security Forces compound occurred during a U.S.-supported operation against Taliban insurgents in the area.
In the statement, the U.S. offered its condolences to the families of the security forces who were killed.
While much of Helmand province is under the control of Taliban, Afghan national security forces have been waging fierce battles to retake territory. NATO and U.S. troops are in Helmand to assist Afghan troops.
Safi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the dead were police officers who were operating with the army in the area.
He said they had recaptured the post from the Taliban when the airstrike occurred.
On Friday, the Helmand Gov. Hayatullah Hayat said it was believed the police officers were not in uniform, which may have resulted in mistakenly identifying them as Taliban fighters.
Among the Taliban fighters killed in fighting in Helmand’s Gereshk district was Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhunzada’s 25-year-old son Hafiz Abdur Rahman Khalid, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.