Five U.S. Special Operations soldiers were killed when a coalition airstrike accidentally struck their position in southern Afghanistan on Monday night,Azam Ahmed of The New York Times reports.
The incident is one of the deadliest friendly fire in more than a decade of war.
“[International Security Assistance Force] troops were returning to their bases after an operation when they were ambushed by the insurgents,” local police chief Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewai told The Telegraph. “The air strike mistakenly hit their own forces and killed the soldiers.”
The Times notes that there have been more than a dozen instances during the war in which airstrikes mistakenly killed American troops or allies when gunfights erupted between coalition troops unaware they were firing on one another.
About 50,000 NATO combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Nearly 10,000 U.S. troops, including Special Operations forces, are expected to remain until 2016.
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