Five US troops, and one Afghan soldier, were killed in southern Afghanistan on Monday — the heaviest foreign military death toll in a single day in months — in an incident that US officials are saying might have been caused by friendly fire.
The men were killed on Monday night in Zabul province, when a coalition jet called in to help fight off a Taliban attack bombed them instead, according to an Afghan official.
"The airstrike mistakenly bombed their own friends too," Ghulam Sakhi Roghliwanai, the province's police chief, told CNN.
The Pentagon confirmed that five of the victims were American and that the troops were killed during a security operation.
“Tragically, there is the possibility that fratricide may have been involved,” a spokesman said. “The incident is under investigation.”
ISAF, the international security assistance force in Afghanistan, made a similar statement, adding: “The casualties occurred during a security operation when their unit came into contact with enemy forces.”
While Afghan forces have taken over most military operations in the country — as foreign troops start to wind down their presence there — security across the country is ramping up ahead of Saturday’s presidential runoff vote.
There have now been 2,328 US casualties in Afghanistan since the beginning of the war.
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