Afghan Airstrike Kills Five Special Forces in Friendly Fire Incident

Rocket Fired 'In Wrong Direction,' According to Defense Ministry

While most of the Afghan government’s “friendly fire” incidents involve Taliban infiltrators, and incident over the weekend appears to have been the result of a bungled airstrike by the Afghan Air Force, which killed five members of the Afghan special forces.

The incident, in the western Farrah Province, saw a rocket strike which the Defense Ministry says was “fired in the wrong direction” hitting the troops, killing at least five and wiounding three others. 19 militants were also killed in other airstrikes over the course of the fighting.

The Pentagon was quick to distance itself from the incident, insisting that they had launched no airstrikes of their own in Farrah Province in over a week, and therefore couldn’t possibly be responsible for the incident. Afghan Defense Ministry officials are quite clear the whole incident was internal to their own military, at any rate.

The Defense Ministry was less clear on the exact circumstances of the strikes, as the Afghan Air Force has extremely limited firepower, and it is comparatively rare for them to be engaged in unilateral airstrikes. Afghanistan really only has 10 planes capable of firing rockets, though they also have some attack helicopters which might’ve been involved.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.