US Afghan air strike kills sixteen Afghan police

Omar Zwak a spokesperson for the governor of Helmand said:"Sixteen Afghan policemen were killed including two commanders. Two other policemen were wounded. It was most probably a miscommunication or the coordinates were not correct, which resulted in the US air strikes. An investigation has been launched."

The aerial attack on a compound took place on Friday afternoon after Afghan police had retaken a checkpoint captured by the Taliban a day earlier in Gereshk district, north of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah. A statement by the US military confirmed the event saying "aerial fires resulted in the deaths of the friendly Afghan forces, who were gathered in a compound." The statement did not give the number of deaths. There has been increased fighting in the southern Helmand province.

Trump has still not decided on a new strategy for Afghanistan. There have been recommendations that three to five thousand more troops be sent but Trump still has not announced a decision. The US has been fighting in Afghanistan for almost 16 years without defeating the Taliban insurgency. Indeed in June, US defense secretary James Mattis admitted the US was not winning in Afghanistan.

Earlier in June, US troops killed an Afghan civilian and his two young sons after their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan. Local officials and witnesses said the US troops began to fire indiscriminately after the incident. Ziya Gul a bricklayer and his two sons, 8 and 10 were working when they came under fire. A spokesperson for the governor of Nagarhar province said that an investigation had been launched into the incident. The increased civilian casualties are bound to cause resentment in Afghanistan and create political opposition to the Afghan government.

The US has upped its air attacks to a level not seen since the US forces were still in a combat role in  2012. As of  June 30 the US and coalition had used 1,634 munitions in Afghanistan just this year. In 2015 the figure was 298 and in 2016, 545.


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