Nato airstrikes kill 9 Afghan policemen | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 21, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 21, 2008

Nato airstrikes kill 9 Afghan policemen

Four other civilians killed in separate coalition raid

Nine policemen and four civilians were killed in Afghanistan yesterday in international military air strikes called in when police and troops clashed after mistaking each other for Taliban, authorities said.
The "friendly fire" incident occurred before dawn when Afghan and international soldiers moved into a district in the southwest without informing police, who thought they were militants, the deputy governor of Farah province said.
"An engagement took place, each side thinking the other was the Taliban," said Mohammad Younus Rasouli.
The troops called for air support and military attack aircraft arrived and bombed a police post, he said. Nine police were killed and five wounded.
Rasouli said Nato's International Security Assistance Force had carried out the strikes, but Isaf said it was an operation by the separate US-led coalition. The coalition confirmed an incident and said it was investigating.
Rasouli said the police chief of Farah's Anar Dara district, on the border with Iran, was among the wounded and was in a serious condition.
In a separate incident, Nato-led troops in Afghanistan accidentally killed four Afghan civilians overnight and were investigating if they were responsible for the deaths of three more, the alliance said.
The incident occurred late Saturday in the volatile eastern province of Paktika close to the border with Pakistan, the International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.
An Isaf unit fired two mortar rounds, which landed nearly one kilometre (less than a mile) from the intended target, it said.
Wounded civilians later came to a local Isaf base for treatment and a medical team was sent to the area to investigate.
"An Isaf unit on a fire mission accidentally killed four civilians, with an unconfirmed further three deaths," the statement said. "Four civilians were also wounded and are now under treatment by Isaf forces."
The force said it "deeply regrets" the incident.
The incidents come as US presidential hopeful Barack Obama is visiting Afghanistan to find out how international efforts against extremist militants trying to overthrow the Afghan government are progressing.
There have been several deadly incidents of "friendly fire" in Afghanistan, where many local and international security forces are involved in a growing fight against Taliban insurgents.

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