US Drone Strike Kills US-Backed Afghan Soldiers
At least five reported killed and many injured as "precision" weapon obliterates allies on the ground
At least five Afghan National Army soldiers in Logar Province are dead and many others injured on Thursday after a U.S. drone bombed a former NATO-run military outpost in Afghanistan.
The latest incident of mistaken targeting by a U.S. drone—which the military and Obama administration call a "precision" weapon—is sure to further outrage ordinary Afghans as well as President Hamid Karzai who has repeatedly, and with increasing anger, criticized bother NATO and U.S. forces for their disregard of Afghan lives while operating within the country.
“We believe the strike was the result of poor coordination between the people on the ground and the operators of the drone,” said Din Mohammad Darwish, a spokesman for the governor of Logar Province, which is in the east of Afghanistan.
“The area is frequented by insurgents both foreign and local, and drone strikes are carried out quite often in that part of Charkh,” Darwish continued. “The A.N.A. outpost was part of the security belt in the province.”
According to Agence France-Presse:
Khalilullah Kamal, the Charkh district governor, told AFP he had visited the site of the attack, which he said was from a US drone.
‘‘The post is totally destroyed,’’ he said.
‘‘The Americans used to be in that post but since they left, the ANA [Afghan national army] took over. The post is on a hilltop. The attack was conducted by drones.’’
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) issued a statement following the bombing which confirmed that at least five Afghan soldiers had been killed.
"An investigation is being conducted at this time to determine the circumstances that led to this unfortunate incident,’’ read the statement. ‘‘Our condolences go out to the families of the ANA soldiers who lost their lives and were wounded ... we will determine what actions will be taken to ensure incidents like this do not happen again.’’
The New York Times adds: "While no hard data is available, the American military has apparently been using drones in Afghanistan with increasing frequency after strict controls were imposed on airstrikes to prevent civilian casualties, as well as complaints by the Afghan military that they were not getting adequate air support for their operations."