I have seen a US media report that claims the Afghans thought an approaching US convoy were Taliban and opened fire and that the US returned fire and called in air support. Whatever the reason the two sides did not recognise each other. Perhaps the US does not trust local authorities enough to inform them when they are on a mission in the area. This is just one more instance where the US has lost the hearts and minds of locals.
U.S. troops mistakenly kill 7 Afghan police, officials say
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | 1:32 AM ET
The Associated Press
U.S. forces mistakenly killed seven Afghan police officers and wounded four others in an incident early Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan, according to Afghan officials.
Police manning a remote checkpoint in Nangarhar province said an American convoy backed by helicopters approached and opened fire despite protests and calls for them to stop.
"I thought they were Taliban, and we shouted at them to stop, but they came closer and they opened fire," said Khan Mohammad, one of the policemen at the post.
"I'm very angry. We are here to protect the Afghan government and help serve the Afghan government, but the Americans have come to kill us."
The commander at the police post, Esanullah, who goes by one name, said a U.S. helicopter fired rockets, killing seven policemen and wounding four.
"I think there was a misunderstanding — the helicopter opened fire at the police post," said Khan.
A spokeswoman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force said she had no information that U.S. forces that fall under ISAF's command were involved. A spokesman for the separate U.S.-led coalition said he was looking into the report.
There were conflicting reports over how the fighting started.
Zurmai Khan, the Khogyani district chief, said fighting started just before midnight Monday between Taliban militants and Afghan police, and two hours into the battle U.S. forces arrived and opened fire on the police.
However, Esanullah and Noragha Zowak, spokesman for the Nangarhar governor, said no Taliban were involved in the incident.
Zurmai Khan labeled the incident a "misunderstanding."
"Unfortunately the Americans and the Afghans, the two sides didn't know it was the other," said Zowak.