America

Cause Of Accidental Air Strike On Afghan Army Troops: 'Mis-communication'

The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan has blamed a communication error for the air strike that killed six Afghan National Army soldiers earlier this week, NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.

An investigation by Afghan and international officials concluded that information exchanged between U.S. and Afghan commanders caused the American pilots to misidentify the route of the Afghan patrol in Ghazni Province.

The soldiers were setting up an ambush against Taliban militants before dawn on Tuesday, when the errant U.S. bomb hit:

When an [International Security Assistance Force] helicopter patrol came across a group of individuals digging beside the road, in an area that has experienced daily IED detonations and significant casualties; they called the Ghazni Operational Coordination Center-Provincial to determine if friendly forces were in the area.  The ISAF patrol was cleared to engage the individuals believed to be insurgents.  However, this approval to engage was based on inaccurate information about the location of the [Afghan National Army] patrol.

In a public statement, officials did not say whether the Afghans or the Americans were responsible for the error.

In Southern Afghanistan, an explosion killed a British soldier on foot-patrol in Helmand Province's troubled Sangin District.

British marines have announced they will be leaving the area by the end of the year, turning over the fight to U.S. forces. At least 314 British soldiers have died in Afghanistan since the start of the war there.

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