10 Afghan soldiers killed in ‘friendly' airstrike


Afghan officials on Monday confirmed ten of its own security forces personnel had been killed in a "friendly" airstrike by the Afghan Air Force in restive Helmand province.

Mohammad Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial government in Helmand, told Anadolu Agency the airstrike was carried out on Sunday evening during a counter-terrorism operation in the Adam Khan village of the Grishk district.

He said two soldiers of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and eight members of the local police were killed in the raid. Several others were also wounded, with some in critical condition.

Helmand Governor Hayatullah Hayat said an investigation team has been sent to the area to assess the situation and circumstances that led to the incident.

The officials have ruled out any role of the U.S. forces in the raid.

In a similar "friendly" airstrike, the U.S. forces were blamed for killing up to 20 Afghan security personnel last month.

Lying south to the Taliban's birthplace Kandahar, Helmand remains one of the most insecure provinces with large-scale poppy cultivation and the Taliban controlling huge swaths of land.

In August, the Afghan National Security Forces backed by the U.S. airpower managed to reclaim restive Nawa district here after over a year when the Taliban overrun it. Since then, large scale deadly clashes have erupted in various pockets of the province claiming many lives on both sides.

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