Afghan Army Base Is Wiped Out by U.S. Airstrikes, Officials Say


KABUL, Afghanistan — For the second time in just a few days, an Afghan Army base was destroyed on Wednesday — however this time by American airstrikes that adopted a firefight between the Afghans and Americans, Afghan officers stated.

An area Afghan official stated six troopers had been killed and 9 others badly wounded, out of 17 troopers on the base. Qais Mangal, a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, confirmed that the airstrikes had taken place after one other Afghan unit attacked a joint convoy of Afghan Special Forces and American troops. He put the dying toll at 5 troopers, with 10 wounded.

An American navy spokeswoman stated personnel on the Afghan Army submit, which she described as a “checkpoint,” had opened hearth on the convoy first.

“This is an example of the fog of war,” stated Sgt. First Class Debra Richardson. “The U.S. conducted a precision self-defense airstrike on people who were firing at a partnered U.S.-Afghan force.”

“It is still not confirmed who fired first, but then they both engaged in a firefight,” Mr. Karimi said. The fight lasted four hours, until 3 a.m., when American warplanes carried out airstrikes that destroyed the base, he said.

“There was a misunderstanding between both sides,” Mr. Karimi said, adding that in the darkness of the area both forces thought they were engaging the Taliban.

The insurgents often steal Afghan and American military vehicles and uniforms to launch their attacks.

“The Afghan and U.S. partnered force tried to de-escalate the situation, but in the fog of war they continued to be fired upon,” Sergeant Richardson said. “We are operating in a complex environment, Afghans included, where attacks come from fighters who do not wear their uniforms.”

Two Afghan soldiers who fled during the fight were apparently unhurt, Mr. Karimi said, but the nine soldiers who were wounded were in critical condition.

“It was a mistake between them,” said Mr. Mangal, the Defense Ministry spokesman. “The Afghan Army outpost opened fire first on a unit of Afghan and foreign forces headed to a military operation.”

In a separate attack on Wednesday, the Taliban again attacked Afghan National Army bases in the Bala Murghab district of Badghis Province, where the 50 soldiers were killed or captured on Monday. This time, seven soldiers were missing, either captured or killed, officials said.



Source link Nytimes.com

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