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'Friendly fire' kills Afghan soldiers

[ 2010-07-08 10:35]     字号 [] [] []  
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Police said Wednesday six Afghan soldiers were killed in a NATO air strike in Afghanistan, while the military announced the deaths of another three foreign soldiers fighting the Taliban.

Local police in troubled Ghazni province, in south-central Afghanistan, said NATO "friendly fire" on an army post killed six officers in an incident that NATO said it was investigating. The air strike late Tuesday was originally aimed at Taliban militants.

Western military air strikes targeting the Taliban have mistakenly killed scores of Afghan civilians and security forces, fanning opposition to foreign troops, sparking angry protests and remonstrations from the Afghan government.

About 140,000 international troops are fighting alongside Afghan forces to quell a Taliban-led insurgency now into its ninth year and train Afghan counterparts to take over so that they can eventually leave.

Reports emerged Wednesday that British troops, who make up the second largest contingent after those from the United States, are to withdraw from one of the deadliest battlefields in Sangin district in Helmand province and hand control to the Americans.

Of 312 British service personnel killed in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion to unseat the Taliban regime, 99 were killed in the market town of Sangin and its surrounding area.

The town has witnessed some of the fiercest fighting the British military has endured since World War II.

The area is particularly dangerous because it contains a patchwork of rival tribes and is a major center for Afghanistan's opium-growing trade.

Western military losses in Afghanistan are now at record levels.

NATO announced that three troops, whose nationalities were not given, died Tuesday in bomb attacks in the south.

The deaths bring to 339 the number of foreign soldiers to have died in the Afghan conflict this year, according to a count kept by icasualties.org.

Seventeen foreign soldiers have died so far in July, while June set the record for the war, now in its ninth year, with 102 deaths.

Strategic planners warned the summer "fighting season" would see a spike in deaths, as NATO and the US beef up deployments in an effort to speed an end to the war.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

'Friendly fire' kills Afghan soldiers

About the broadcaster:

'Friendly fire' kills Afghan soldiers

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.