NATO ‘friendly fire’ incident kills Afghan troops

At least eight Afghan troops die after coalition strike hits checkpoint in Logar province, Afghan officials say.

Afghan troops took over responsibility for security in the country from NATO late last year [File:Getty]

At least eight Afghan soldiers have been killed in a NATO air strike in eastern Afghanistan, according to security officials, in the latest “friendly fire” incident involving foreign coalition forces.

Provincial army commander Abdul Razaq said the strike took place on Monday morning in Logar province’s district of Baraki Barak, about 50km east of Kabul. He said five troops were also wounded as an army checkpoint was hit.

Other Afghan officials also reported the strike, though they gave a slightly different number of casualties. A report by the AFP news agency put the death toll at at least 10 people.

The Taliban group is active in the area, and fighters are known to transit through Baraki Barak.

Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s president, expressed his “profound sorrow” over the tragedy and ordered an investigation into the killings. 

District governor Mohammad Rahim Amin said the strike was likely a mistake, due to bad coordination.

He said two US helicopters had attacked the checkpoint, which caught fire.

A US military spokesman in Afghanistan, Colonel Brian Tribus, said the coalition was aware of an incident in Logar.

“This incident is under investigation,” Tribus said.

A similar NATO air strike in the area in December killed five civilians and wounded six others.

US-led NATO forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan in December, but a residual force remains for training and counterterrorism operations.