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    5 American troops killed in Zabul friendly fire

    WASHINGTON/KABUL/QALAT (Pajhwok): The United States is looking into a NATO airstrike that mistakenly killed five American soldiers in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.            

    "Five American troops were killed yesterday during a security operation in southern Afghanistan. Investigators are looking into the likelihood that a friendly-fire was the cause,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

     “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen," Kirby said in a statement.

    The five NATO-led International Security Assistance (ISAF) service members were killed on Monday when bombed by their own air force in southern Zabul province, an Afghan official said on Tuesday.

    Wishing not to be named, the local official in Zabul said the incident took place in Arghandab district.

    He said ISAF aircrafts mistakenly bombed the international troops after they called for air support during an operation in Gizee area of Arghandab district.

    As a result, five foreign troops, an Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier and an interpreter were killed, he said.

    ISAF  confirmed the deaths, which it said occurred during a security operation when their unit came into contact with enemy forces.

    “Tragically, there is the possibility that fratricide may have been involved. The incident is under investigation. Our thoughts are with the families of those killed during this difficult time,” the statement said

    However, it provided no further details about the nationalities or exact location of the incident.

    A Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi the fighters were locked in a gun battle with foreign troops when ISAF planes mistakenly bombed their own troops.

    The latest fatalities brought to 40 the death toll for foreign troops this year. The incident, the deadliest since five British soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Kandahar at the end of April, comes as combat forces wind down their operations.

    Some 50,000 NATO combat troops are due to leave the country by the end of this year, though a small US deployment is expected to remain until 2016 to provide training and advice to Afghan troops.