22:12 GMT +319 November 2019
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    A US Army AH-64 Apache helicopter flies over a village in Naray, in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province.file photo

    With Friends Like These: US 'Friendly Fire' Kills Afghan Soldiers Again

    © AFP 2019 / LIU Jin
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    A US air strike on an army checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan has reportedly killed at least eight Afghan servicemen, in the latest example of "friendly fire" involving foreign coalition troops.

    At least eight Afghan soldiers have been killed and five more wounded after two US helicopters attacked a checkpoint in Logar province south of the capital Kabul, media reports said; the AFP news agency put the death toll at ten people.

    The air strike in the province's Baraki Barak district came after five civilians were killed and six others injured in a similar NATO attack in Afghanistan in December 2014.

    Referring to the latest incident, District Governor Mohammad Rahim Amin said that the targeted checkpoint was "not a suspicious area", and that the strike was likely a mistake, due to bad coordination.

    "The Afghan flag was waving at the checkpoint in Baraki Barak when the Americans launched their attack," he said.

    A US military official, said that he was aware of the Monday morning's incident, which he said is "under investigation."

    Although the US-led NATO forces wrapped up their combat mission in Afghanistan in December 2014, about 10,000 international troops are still in place in Afghanistan to train and advise Afghan forces; the coalition troops' fighting role is limited to special operations.

    Black Hawk Helicopters coming in to land at firebase in Afghanistan
    © Flickr / chuck holton/ U.S. Army Photo
    Civilian and military casualties from coalition air strikes have caused criticism from both the government and ordinary people since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

    As for the latest "friendly fire", it occurred as Taliban militants intensified attacks on government and foreign targets during their summer offensive; ending the hostilities was high on the agenda of last week's talks between Afghan officials and Taliban leaders, who agreed to meet again in the coming weeks.


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