A US warplane attacked a patrol of Afghan border police in the southern Helmand Province overnight, killing “several” and wounding a number of others. There are still conflicting reports on the exact death toll, but DPA suggested that as many as 10 police were slain in the operation.
The US confirmed the incident as a “friendly-fire” incident and has promised an investigation. They initially claimed that the plane was under attack and had to respond, but now are saying that the Afghan police were “patrolling too close to a Taliban base.”
Taliban forces have gained a large amount of territory across the Helmand Province, including parts of the capital city of Lashkar Gah. It is therefore difficult to envision a patrol route that wouldn’t put the Afghan forces at least somewhat close to some Taliban base or other.
Either way, the US offered “deepest condolences” for killing the Afghan security forces. There is no indication that the operation did any material harm to the Taliban base itself, which apparently was to be their intended target until they saw a random patrol wandering around the area and decided to attack that instead.
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