Five American soldiers and at least one Afghan soldier were killed on Monday after a NATO aircraft reportedly bombed their position in a mistaken friendly fire incident.
The New York Times is reporting that the American Special Operations service members were engaged in a firefight with Taliban militants during a security operations mission. The group called for air support and the aircraft accidentally struck their position.
From the Times:
The incident occurred Monday night in Zabul Province as coalition and Afghan troops were conducting security operations prior to the presidential runoff election scheduled for Saturday, said Ghulam Sakhi Roghliwanai, the province's police chief. As the mission drew to a close, Taliban militants ambushed the fighters, prompting them to call for close air support, Mr. Roghliwanai said.
The aircraft accidentally struck the position of the American soldiers, killing five of them along with at least one Afghan soldier. The incident took place in the province's restive Arghandab district.
CBS News also reported that the soldiers who were killed were Americans, adding that “the deaths bring to 36 the number of NATO soldiers killed so far this year in Afghanistan.”
The Associated Press also reported that the strike was an incident of friendly-fire, saying defense officials confirmed that the soldiers were American.