Coalition and Afghan soldiers briefly traded fire near an Afghan army checkpoint in Khost Province early this morning, before the coalition called in an air strike against the checkpoint, killing nine Afghan soldiers and wounding at least three others. A coalition statement suggested “this may be a case of mistaken identity on both sides.”
Khost Provincial Governor Arsallah Jamal said the checkpoint was well known and on a main road, adding “they knew it was there. They made a mistake.” Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry issued a statement condemning the incident “in the strongest terms.” The vowed an inquiry into the incident to ensure “the culprits are brought to justice and tried under laws in place.”
Tensions between the Afghan government and international forces have risen in the past months after several high profile air strikes by US and other NATO forces killed scores of innocent civilians. Most recently a strike in Helmand Province last week killed at least 25 civilians according to local officials. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has previously condemned the international forces for such strikes.