Miscommunication Caused Fatal Air Strike, Officials Say
From an International Security Assistance Force News Release
KABUL, Afghanistan, Jul. 8, 2010 A joint assessment team composed of International Security Assistance Force and Afghan security forces members has determined that an air strike that killed six Afghan soldiers and injured one other this week was the result of miscommunication between ISAF and Afghan forces.
Afghan soldiers planned a patrol and had coordinated the patrol’s location with ISAF elements. When the information was passed to the local ISAF unit, the wrong location was identified for the Afghan patrol, officials said.
When an ISAF helicopter patrol came across a group of individuals digging beside the road in an area that has experienced daily roadside-bomb detonations and significant casualties, they called the Ghazni provincial operational coordination center to determine if friendly forces were in the area.
The ISAF patrol was cleared to engage the individuals believed to be insurgents, based on inaccurate information about the location of the Afghan patrol.
“This accident is tragic, and our heartfelt condolences go out to all those who lost loved ones,” said Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, a German army officer and ISAF spokesman. “We work very hard to ensure our operations are coordinated and synchronized. No one wants this to happen again. Together with our Afghan partners, we are working to improve our procedures.”