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Afghanistan probes mistaken US air attack on its army base

14 Mar 2019 Al Jazeera

Authorities are investigating an errant raid by the United States forces on an Afghanistan military base in the southern part of the country that killed at least five Afghan troops.

The soldiers were killed by friendly fire on Wednesday in what was supposed to be a precision air attack by US forces supporting Afghan soldiers battling armed fighters near Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province.

Afghan defence ministry earlier said the fatalities were the result of a miscommunication between Afghan troops on the ground and forces in the air, without providing details.

On Thursday, Obaidullah Barikzai, lawmaker from Uruzgan province, told The Associated Press that Afghan soldiers inside the base in Tarin Kot believed a darkened convoy approaching the base was the Taliban - not US and Afghan forces - and opened fire, invoking a blistering retaliation.

The Taliban often travel in convoys with no vehicle lights on, Barikzai said.

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The Taliban control vast areas of Uruzgan province and the Afghan security forces had been on alert that an attack could be coming.

A US air-to-ground strike was called in to aid the convoy when it came under fire.

Barikzai said it hit the Afghan army base, located less than 4km from the governor's house, but other reports said the strike hit outside the post, which had recently been moved from one location to another.

The US military said it responded to incoming fire on Afghan and US forces on the ground and attempted to come to their defence by conducting a precision air attack.

Barikzai said many of the wounded in the deadly incident were in a critical condition, but did not provide details.

Original Link: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/afghanistan-probes-mistaken-air-attack-army-base-190314145213620.html

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