TARIN KOT , Afghanistan, Sept. 19 (UPI) — At least eight Afghan police officers were killed in misdirected U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan’s volatile Uruzgan province, Afghan officials said.
A police post on the main road to Tirin Kot, the provincial capital, was under assault Sunday by Taliban forces when an airstrike hit the post instead of the attackers, Abudul Qawe Omari, deputy provincial police chief, said.
“It was hit mistakenly and due to wrong directions or coordinates being given. The fighting was ongoing at the time,” Omari said.
Regional Highway Police Commander Samunwal Rahimullah Khan told Voice of America, “An airstrike killed one police officer and when seven others returned to the security post, foreign aircraft carried out another raid, killing all of them.”
The Taliban seized a large amount of the province in the past several weeks, and have been held from capturing Tirin Kot largely by U.S. air support for Afghan security troops. At least 38 police outposts were abandoned because of Afghan assaults on the road from Tirin Kot to Kandahar in the past two days.
Airstrikes mistakenly hitting Afghan forces and civilians has been a sore spot between Afghanistan and the United States. While former Afghan President Hamid Karzai was a longtime critic of U.S. airstrikes, his successor, President Ashraf Ghani, has welcomed the tactics; the Kabul government has agreed to airstrikes, officials in Washington have said.