Friendly Fire: US Airstrike Killed at Least 18 Afghan Police in Helmand

Officials blame Afghan military for 'tragic accident'

US officials are trying to shift the blame to the Afghan military after a Thursday US airstrike on the Helmand Province targeted the 601 highway battalion of Afghan police. The strike killed 18 police, and wounded 11 others.

Friendly fire strikes have been all-too-common in Afghanistan, particularly at points in the war, as now, when US forces are heavily relying on airstrikes, and warplanes are just pounding anything they think looks like a group of combatants.

In this case, officials say the airstrike was called in by Afghan Defense forces, who were engaged in fighting somewhere in the area. The US claimed they asked the Afghan forces that the target was clear of friendly forces, and the Afghan forces failed to do so.

This is part of the recurring problem with airstrikes, that the US makes no more than very superficial efforts to find out what they’re bombing. It is this same reason that not only are friendly fire incidents happening, but that US airstrikes are killing more Afghan civilians in recent months.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of