International

NATO drone strike kills Afghan soldiers

Five dead were reportedly accidentally targeted in apparent airstrike in eastern Afghanistan

A drone on the tarmac at Kandahar military airport.
Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images

A NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday accidentally killed five Afghan soldiers, government officials said.

The deaths are likely to worsen already fraught relations between the U.S.-led NATO coalition and President Hamid Karzai, who has often seized on botched airstrikes to launch bitter criticism of the international military effort in Afghanistan.

"At 3:30 a.m. this morning, due to a NATO airstrike in Charkh district, Logar province, five service members of the Afghan national army were martyred and eight others were wounded," Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said on his Twitter account.

Khalilullah Kamal, the Charkh district governor, told the news agency Agence France-Presse he had visited the site of the attack, which he said was from a U.S. drone.

"The post is totally destroyed," he said. "The Americans used to be in that post, but since they left, the (Afghan army) took over. The post is on a hilltop."

Karzai, who is due to stand down after elections on April 5, in an interview this week expressed his "extreme anger" toward the United States as it prepares to end its 13-year war in Afghanistan.

Wire services

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