Five American troops and their interpreter were killed by apparently friendly fire in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Tuesday, in one of the deadliest friendly-fire incidents since the war began in 2001.
“Five American troops were killed yesterday during a security operation in southern Afghanistan,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement Tuesday. “Investigators are looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen.”
The dead include five coalition troops of the special-operation forces, their Afghan interpreter, and one Afghan National Army soldier, all killed by coalition aircraft in the Gaza area of Arghandab District of Zabul province Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A U.S. coalition airstrike mistakenly targeted international and Afghan forces who were fighting Taliban insurgents in the Arghandab district, the L.A. Times reported.
The coalition said the casualties occurred when the troops began battling Taliban insurgents during a security operation. The troops died in the airstrike after requesting air support.
Including these deaths, the number of NATO troops killed this year in Afghanistan is now 36.