The Pentagon has launched an investigation into an air strike conducted Sunday by U.S. forces that authorities in Afghanistan say killed 11 policemen in Kandahar province.
Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, deputy chief of staff for communications for the U.S.-led NATO coalition in Afghanistan, said Tuesday that the decision to investigate the strike was based on new information that was made available to the U.S. military.
“We will complete the investigation in close coordination with our Afghan partners and in a transparent, timely and thorough manner,” he said in a statement. “We will release further details regarding this incident as they become available.”
Taliban attacks have intensified this summer in Afghanistan after the United States and its allies closed bases and turned over responsibility for most combat operations to the Afghan army, which has suffered its worst casualties in years.
During a single 24-hour period last month, three separate attacks across Kabul, the Afghan capital, left at least 48 people dead and more than 300 injured.
It was the deadliest day in Kabul since 2011, with the highest number of civilians killed and injured since the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began recording civilian casualties in 2009.
The United States formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan last year, but still provides support to Afghan military with counterterrorism airstrikes, training and intelligence.
Sunday’s incident, if it is shown to be a case of friendly fire, would mark the second time this year that U.S. air strikes killed Afghan security personnel.
In July, seven Afghan soldiers were mistakenly killed when a U.S. Apache attack helicopter carried out a strike that hit an Afghan army outpost.
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