NATO killed 13 police in sheer negligence: Mullahkhel
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Thirteen Afghan counter-narcotics policemen were killed in Sunday night NATO airstrike due to sheer negligence in the southern province of Helmand, officials said on Tuesday.
The anti-drug police went to Reg area of Garamser district in coordination with the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to get information about drug smuggling and arrest drug traffickers when NATO forces bombed them from the air, provincial police chief Major Gen. Nabi Jan Mullahkhel told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Eleven policemen and their two informers were killed and seven other policemen were injured as a result of the airstrike, he said.
However, the spokesman for the Counternarcotics Department, Syed Mehdi Kazmi, had said that 17 policemen were killed in the assault.
The provincial police chief denied the claim if the police had gone to the area in plainclothes, saying “the policemen went to the area to perform duty assigned by the Ministry of Interior and provincial administration.”
At the same time, NATO-led troops were conducting an operation in neighboring district of Maiwand in Kandahar province, he said.
The policemen were flailing their arms to the aircraft in order to be recognised, but the foreign forces did not care and bombed them without getting any information about them, he said.
He also denied the claims of Kandahar officials that the raid came in coordination with Helmand officials, saying the MoI and NATO-led forces had launched a joint investigation to know the cause of the incident.
To a query, he said the police went to the area in a Land-Carouser type vehicle which could operate in deserts too. The department has 10 such vehicles.
An official, who wanted to be unnamed, said the policemen went to the area without uniform and their vehicle carried Taliban flags to easily target drug smugglers.
But the police chief denied this claim as well, saying the police went to the area in coordination with the police headquarters and there were part of the 63-member unit responsible for such operations in the province.
However, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, Col. Brian Tribus, once again said they had conducted kinetic strikes in Maiwand district of Kandahar province on September 6. They did not carry out any operation in Helmand, he said.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.