[Marxism] "US Forces Kill 6 Afghan Police Officers by Mistake"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Dec 10 21:11:58 MST 2008


New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/world/asia/11afghan.html
December 11, 2008
U.S. Forces Kill 6 Afghan Police Officers by Mistake 
By KIRK SEMPLE
KABUL, Afghanistan - United States forces killed six Afghan police officers
and one civilian on Wednesday during an assault on the hide-out of a
suspected Taliban commander, the authorities said, in what an American
military spokesman called a "tragic case of mistaken identity." Thirteen
Afghan officers were also wounded in the episode.

A statement issued jointly by the American and the Afghan military commands
said a contingent of police officers fired on United States forces after the
Americans had successfully overrun the hide-out, killing the suspected
Taliban commander and detaining another man. 

The statement said the Americans had already entered the hide-out, a
building in Qalat, the capital of the southern province of Zabul, when they
came under attack by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from "a
compound nearby."

"Multiple attempts to deter the engagement were unsuccessful," the statement
said.

The Americans, concerned about women and children hiding in the building
they had taken, returned fire using small arms and aircraft, the statement
said. 

After the firefight, the Americans discovered they had been shooting at
Afghan police officers, the statement said. 

But the deputy police chief of Qalat said the police officers had been in a
police station when they came under American fire, which destroyed the
station.

The official, Jailoni Khan Farahi, also said that the volley of bullets and
grenades against the Americans had not originated from the police station
but from a building nearby. He said he did not know who was occupying that
building at the time.

While cases of Afghan security forces firing on coalition troops are rare,
they have raised concerns in the American-led international force that
insurgents may have infiltrated the Afghan Army and police force. 

Zabul's governor, Delbar Jan Arman, said a joint Afghan and American
delegation of military and civilian officials was heading to the scene to
investigate.

"Coalition forces deeply regret the incident of mistaken fire," said Col.
Jerry O'Hara, an American spokesman. "Initial reports indicate this was a
tragic case of mistaken identity on both parts." 

Friendly-fire incidents between coalition soldiers and Afghan security
forces have occasionally resulted in casualties, most often among Afghan
police officers, who are not as well trained or equipped as the Afghan Army.
But rarely have so many Afghan security personnel died in one episode. 

In October, an airstrike in Khost Province by coalition forces killed nine
Afghan soldiers and may have resulted from mistaken identity, American and
Afghan officials said. 

In June 2007, American forces called in air support when Afghan police
officers opened fire on them during a hunt for Taliban militants. Seven
Afghan policemen were killed. 

Khalid Fazly contributed reporting.






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