September 9, 2015 / 9:59 AM / 3 years ago

U.S. military to investigate strike that Afghans say killed 11 police

KABUL (Reuters) - The U.S. military said it would launch an investigation into an airstrike last week that Afghan officials say killed 11 members of Afghanistan’s elite counter-narcotics police force.

American war aircraft and remotely piloted drones still carry out strikes in Afghanistan, targeting Taliban and other militants even after most foreign forces withdrew at the end of last year.

If proven, the incident would be one of the deadliest recent instances of “friendly fire”, after at least eight Afghan soldiers were killed by a U.S. airstrike in July in Logar province, south of the capital, Kabul.

Afghan officials initially said last week’s airstrike took place in the southern province of Helmand, but later reports showed the elite police team was operating in the neighboring province of Kandahar.

“We feel it is prudent to investigate the airstrike our forces conducted in Kandahar,” a U.S. military spokesman, Brigadier General Wilson Shoffner, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Four counter narcotics police were also wounded in the incident and one was still missing, according to an interior ministry report. The strike set ablaze four landcruisers, destroying equipment and weapons on board.

The U.S. military said an American officer now serving in Afghanistan would lead the investigation.

Reporting by Jessica Donati; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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