At least five Afghan soldiers were killed and 10 injured in air strikes conducted by USA forces in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan on Wednesday, Afghan officials said, in an apparent case of friendly fire.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Karim Karimi, deputy head of the provincial council, says US forces mistakenly carried out an airstrike at an Afghan base near Tarin Kot, the provincial capital in Uruzgan, followed by a firefight that left the five Afghans dead.
Provincial officials say it's still not sure who fired the first shot, but that indications are that both sides thought they were fighting the Taliban and not one another.More news: Is Jordy Nelson the veteran WR the Steelers need?
After almost 17 years of the armed conflict, the Afghan government controls around 55 per cent of the territory, while the Taliban control around 11 per cent, with the rest being disputed, according to the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
A member of the provincial council in Uruzgan, Mohammad Zaher Khan Naderi said seven members of the Afghan army were killed and 10 were injured in the bombing.
A joint operation had been underway at the time of the clash, the Afghan defence ministry said.More news: Dash camera captures plane crash in front of vehicle on busy road
"This attack was caused due to lack of proper coordination", a ministry official told Reuters.
"Afghan and USA forces attempted to de-escalate the situation but they continued to be fired upon. We are operating in a complex environment where enemy fighters do not wear uniforms and use stolen military vehicles to attack government forces".
"I counted that the planes were shooting at the base for some 30 minutes", Haji Lal Agha, a local resident said.More news: NKorean official: Kim rethinking US talks, launch moratorium
In one of the deadliest, 16 Afghan policemen were killed in July 2017, when they were mistakenly targeted by United States air strikes in neighboring Helmand province.