On August 7th, a US airstrike in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar province accidentally hit friendly forces and killed 12 police officers.
The announcement came from local officials and namely Abdul Wali Wakeel. “Foreign forces should not repeat the mistake they made early this morning,” he said. “If they continue to be careless, it could create a much bigger problem.”
Afghan Security forces had been fighting the Taliban for 10 days in Logar’s Azra district when US air support was called in, according to Mohammad Qaseem Sidiqi, another provincial council member cited by Stars & Stripes. “But sadly, when the foreign forces’ helicopters arrived, their bombs hit them instead of the enemy,” Sidiqi said.
Azra is a strategically important position, bordering Pakistan and the Kabul province, at the moment it is considered “contested.”
US military confirmed it was aware of “varying and unconfirmed reports” of Afghan deaths caused by an American airstrike in Logar and that an investigation was undergoing.
“At this time, I can confirm that U.S. Forces-Afghanistan did conduct a strike in support of Afghan operations and in defense of Afghan forces in Azra district, Logar province early this morning,” said Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Kabul.
However, on August 9th, US officials denied that a US airstrike has killed the Afghan police officers. “Following a review of footage from the strike conducted by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan in support of Afghan operations and in defense of Afghan forces in Azrah district, Logar province, Aug. 7, we have determined that no Afghan security force members were killed,” Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in the country, cited by Air Force Times.
“The footage clearly depicts an attack on an Afghan security force observation post by a group of fighting-aged males using multiple heavy weapons and tactics, techniques and procedures employed by the Taliban from an open position on a ridgeline above the observation post,” O’Donnell said.
“Both the enemy and friendly locations were verified and cleared by Afghan security forces on the ground, through the regional coordination center, which is located with the 203rd Corps operations center, prior to the strike,” he added. “Our determination is also supported by first-hand accounts from Afghan security force leaders and members present during the incident, who confirmed those firing upon them were Taliban members.”
O’Donnell also claims that no helicopters, US or Afghan, showed up to the battle so there is no credibility to the claims.
The Taliban are on the offense in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar province. Late night on August 9th, the Taliban began their attack on the city of Ghazni according to provincial police chief Farid Ahmad Mashal said. The fight in the province is still on-going.
Earlier, on July 20th, according to unnamed Afghan officials a US airstrike killed fourteen members of a family in northern Afghanistan. However, officer, Maj. Saifuddin Azizi of the 10th commando battalion, the executive officer of an Afghan Army unit on the front line in Chardara. “It is propaganda by the enemy,” he said, “We deny there were any civilian casualties. Foreign troops are our friends and we don’t target civilians. When the foreign troops decide to attack somewhere, first of all they check everything and then they launch the operation.”
In 2017, on July 21st, a US air strike in southern province of Helmand killed 16 Afghan security personnel in a “friendly fire incident.”
On August 7th, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that peace talks with the Taliban are underway, as cited by Military Times. However, he said that the reconciliation process is still in its early phases.