NATO is investigating reports that at least nine Afghan police officers were killed in a U.S. air strike during heavy fighting with the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan, its mission said on Tuesday, August 7.
Afghan interior ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi said nine police officers were killed and 14 wounded in the strike in Azra district of Logar province, AFP reported.
During the hours-long battle with insurgents overnight, police “called in air support but unfortunately foreign forces mistakenly bombed their positions,” Rahimi said.
The Taliban also suffered heavy losses, he added.
Provincial council chief Hamidullah Hamid told AFP “foreign forces” had mistakenly bombed two police checkpoints and killed “about 15 police.”
Resolute Support, NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, confirmed U.S. forces had conducted an air strike “in defense of Afghan forces” in Azra district but did not mention casualties.
“We are looking into the matter further,” spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Martin O’Donnell told AFP.
The U.S. is the only international force known to be carrying out air strikes in Afghanistan.
There are about 14,000 U.S. ground troops in Afghanistan, making up the bulk of NATO’s mission to train, advise and assist local forces.
On August 5, three Czech Resolute Support service members were killed by a suicide bomber in Parwan province. Two Afghans and one American were injured.
Some U.S. forces are also involved in counter-terrorism operations, particularly against Islamic State.