Five United States Special Operations soldiers and at least one Afghan soldier were accidentally killed in an airstrike on Monday night. A team of coalition and Afghan troops had been patrolling the Zabul province’s Arghandab District in preparation for Saturday’s presidential election. Local
Police Chief Ghulam Sakhi Roghliwanai told reporters that Taliban militants attacked the soldiers as they prepared to leave the area. The Americans called for air support, and were struck by the bomber that arrived to help them.
“The casualties occurred during a security operation when their unit came into contact with enemy forces,” said U.S. military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Belcher. “Tragically, there is the possibility that fratricide may have been involved.” The Washington Post notes that the incident appears to have been one of the deadliest cases of friendly fire involving American troops since the war in Afghanistan began.