Errant US airstrike kills 12 Afghan security forces

Afghan Border Police personnel walk through an outpost damaged in an airstrike in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province

A U.S. airstrike targeting Afghan militants Friday in restive Helmand province instead killed 16 Afghan police officers, USA and Afghan officials said.

In western Farah province, a ferocious gun battle between the Afghan army and Taliban insurgents left six Afghan soldiers dead and 12 Taliban killed, said Mohammad Naser Mehri, spokesman for the provincial governor.

The US air strikes are part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission to support Afghan forces against the Taliban.

Local officials said 20 more officers are missing and that it wasn't clear if they had been kidnapped or if they had escaped.

The bombing occurred Friday afternoon in the district of Gereshk, about 150 km west of Kandahar, an area of southern Afghanistan largely controlled by the taliban.

The insurgents control much of the province and threaten Lashkar Gah but government forces, backed by USA air strikes, have launched an operation to drive them back from around the provincial capital.




Sixteen Afghan officers have been killed in a so-called "friendly fire" incident in the Helmand province in Afghanistan.

The Afghan officials are saying that the leaders of the Taliban and their families are based in Pakistan and Qatar, having luxurious lives. 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. "An investigation will be conducted to determine the specific circumstances that led to this incident".

Airstrikes by USA warplanes have also significantly increased in recent months against the purported positions of the Taliban militant group and other terror outfits in the crisis-hit country.

In February, a USA airstrike in Sangin killed at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children.

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. The United States Forces in Afghanistan confirmed the casualties resulting in the airstrike.

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