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Air raid kills 9 Afghan soldiers in Khost

Latest update : 2008-10-22

Government officials condemned the killing of nine Afghan troops in an airstrike by coalition forces. A US military statement called the incident a case of mistaken identity. Watch our special report on Kabul security.

The Afghan government condemned on Wednesday the killing of nine of its soldiers in an airstrike by foreign forces, saying morale was being sapped by such incidents.
   
Nine US-trained Afghan soldiers died and three were wounded when international military helicopters opened fire on their checkpost in the eastern province of Khost on Wednesday, according to the Afghan defence ministry.
   
"The national defence ministry condemns the incident in the strongest terms," it said in a statement.
   
"We promise the people of Afghanistan and the army to seriously pursue the incident, so the culprits are brought to justice and are tried under laws in place," the statement added.
   
It said such incidents harmed morale among the war-torn nation's security forces which are fighting an increasingly bloody insurgency led by the Taliban.
   
"Such tragic and painful incidents would weaken the morale of the national security forces and could hamper the national army development," it added.
   
The US military has admitted coalition forces "may have mistakenly killed and injured" Afghan soldiers in the eastern province of Khost in a case of mistaken identity and said it was investigating.
   
Afghanistan is rebuilding its security forces under full support by US and other NATO nations. More than 80,000 national army soldiers have been trained since the 2001 fall of the Taliban.
   
The troops and a 60,000-strong international force are fighting a Taliban insurgency launched months after the United States toppled the government of Taliban in retaliation to the 9/11 attacks.

Date created : 2008-10-22

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