A NATO-led coalition airstrike, aimed at Taliban members in the restive Logar province east of the capital Kabul, killed at least seven Afghan troops and injured five others, according to various media reports.
An Afghan official described the incident as an accident due to bad coordination, reports The Associated Press (AP).
The NATO airstrike was “likely a mistake, due to bad coordination” in an area where Taliban insurgents are highly active, reportedly said district governor Mohammad Rahim Amin.
Paraphrasing comments from the Afghan Ministry, AP reports that “the incident happened as coalition helicopters were flying over an area in Logar province where clashes were underway between Afghan troops and Taliban fighters.”
According to AP, the ministry, which said the incident is under investigation, noted that “insurgents fired toward the helicopters, prompting a response that destroyed one army checkpoint.”
The NATO airstrike struck two Afghan military checkpoints on Monday in Logar province.
“Logar provincial army commander Abdul Razaq said the early morning strike took place in the district of Baraki Barak, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Kabul,” reports AP. “Razaq revised an earlier higher figure and said that seven troops were killed while five were wounded in the strike.”
Those casualty figures were reportedly confirmed by Mohammad Douod Ahmadi, the Logar police chief.
“Conflicting number of casualty figures are common during fighting in remote areas inaccessible to reporters,” notes AP.
Col. Brian Tribus, a U.S. military spokesman, said the coalition was aware of the incident.
“This incident is under investigation,” he added.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appointed a team to “comprehensively probe the incident and come up with clarification surrounding the airstrike,” according to a statement from his office.
The Afghan president called on the coalition forces to “take maximum precautions” not to injure Afghan civilians and troops in their future operations.
At the end of last year, the U.S. and NATO forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan, handing over the lead of security responsibilities across the country to their Afghan counterparts.
The number of casualties among the Afghan troops has hit record levels since.
A residual U.S. force remains in Afghanistan conducting training and some counterterrorism operations.