US Airstrike Kills Several Afghan Security Force Members

World       by Muhammad Irfan | Published

A US airstrike killed at least nine "local security personnel aligned with Afghan Government forces", a spokesman for the USA military confirmed late Friday.

Heavy fighting is going on in Helmand's Grishk and Garmsir districts after the Taliban lost control of the Nawa district to government forces over a year after first overrunning it.

The assaults by a resurgent Taliban come as the group is said to control more territory now than at any time since 2001, when a USA -led invasion ousted them from power.

The US air strikes are part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission to support Afghan forces against the Taliban.

Omar Zwak, Helmand provincial governor spokesman, confirmed the strike and gave the same account. Hayat also said numerous security forces were not in uniform, which may have caused some confusion about their identities. "An Afghan journalist in Kabul who covered the incident says local forces then rushed in and were hit by another North Atlantic Treaty Organisation strike".

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Local media outlet Pajhwok News reports that two commanders were among the policemen killed.

The US has confirmed that it had carried out an airstrike in the area and offered its condolences to the families of those killed.

The incident took place Friday 5 pm as Afghan security forces were clearing a village of Taliban elements, Salam Afghan, Helmand police spokesman, told AFP.

And in a third incident on Friday, five Afghan soldiers and one police officer were killed during fighting with the Taliban in western Farah province.

Bigzad said another 20 members of a local police force were missing following Friday's firefight. Taliban have in the past exaggerated their successes and the remoteness of the area makes it near impossible to independently verify. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and U.S. troops are in Helmand to assist them.

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