U.S. targets Afghan airbase amid friendly fire
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 3/13/19, 11:44 am
The United States destroyed an Afghan army base with airstrikes Wednesday in what a U.S. official called the “fog of war.” A unit of U.S. and Afghan forces were patrolling near a national army base on the outskirts of Tirin Kot, the capital of southern Uruzgan province, when fighting broke out between the base and the patrol due to mistaken identities, The New York Times reported. The fighting continued for hours until the U.S. airstrikes destroyed the base at about 3 a.m., said Mohammed Karim Karimi, the deputy head of the provincial council. Defense Ministry spokesman Qais Mangal confirmed the attack was a mistake. He said at least five soldiers died and 10 others sustained injuries. Partner forces tried unsuccessfully to de-escalate the situation, U.S. Sgt. 1st Class Debra Richardson said. “We are operating in a complex environment, Afghans included, where attacks come from fighters who do not wear their uniforms,” she said.
The Taliban has persisted with attacks even as it engages the United States and other Western nations in peace talks. On Monday, the group staged an attack on an army base in the northwestern province of Badghis, where it killed at least 16 soldiers and took another 40 captive.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.