NATO airstrike kills 4, Afghan official says
KABUL - The governor of a province in northeastern Afghanistan said yesterday that a NATO airstrike killed four police officers at a checkpoint in the remote, mountainous region.
Jamaluddin Badar said the strike took place late Sunday in the Wama district of Nuristan province, a lawless, rugged area near the border with Pakistan. He said coalition forces detained 12 police officers following the airstrike. NATO said it was investigating reports of a friendly fire incident. Mistaken airstrikes and night raids are the leading cause of tension between the US-led coalition and the Afghan government.
President Hamid Karzai has demanded that the coalition take steps to ensure that airstrikes do not cause accidental deaths. The United Nations said in its midyear report that airstrikes conducted by the coalition remained the leading cause of civilian deaths by progovernment forces.
Badar condemned the incident, which he said occurred “while the flag of Afghanistan flew from the checkpoint and all police were in uniform.’’
“The repetition of such mistakes will have a bad effect on the police ranks in the province,’’ he warned in a statement. It is unclear how many forces the coalition has in the province, where security is provided largely by Afghan police.