Local officials have said that an errant U.S. air raid has killed Afghan police in the southern province of Helmand.
The airstrike was carried out on Friday afternoon on a compound after Afghanistan’s police had retaken a checkpoint captured by the Taliban a day earlier in Gereshk district, north of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah.
The provincial police chief, Abdul Ghafar Safi, said at least 12 police were killed, two of whom were commanders – and more were injured.
U.S. military issued a statement and confirmed the killings, saying, “Aerial fires resulted in the deaths of the friendly Afghan forces who were gathered in a compound.”
There were conflicting reports about the number of casualties. Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand, said at least three people were killed and that an investigation has been launched.
“An accurate number of casualties and details of the incident will be announced later but we can confirm that at least three Afghan police were killed and there are chances the numbers could be more,” Zwak said.
"It was most probably a miscommunication or the coordinates were not correct, which resulted in the U.S. air strikes."
According to the U.S. military headquarters in Kabul, the United States has carried out 52 air raids in Helmand over the past five days.