UK & World News

  • 10 June 2014, 11:16

Five Nato Soldiers Killed By 'Friendly Fire'

Five Nato soliders have been killed in an attack in southern Afghanistan, the international coalition has said.

A statement from the alliance said all five soldiers died on Monday but did not give further details about the attack - or the nationality of the soldiers.

Coalition policy is for home countries to identify their military dead, but it is understood the soldiers were not British.

Most of the foreign forces operating in the area are from the United States.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack but others sources said the deaths were the result of "friendly fire".

The insurgents have intensified attacks on Afghan and foreign forces ahead of the country's presidential election runoff on Saturday.

Officials are concerned there could be more violence around the balloting, though the first round in April passed relatively peacefully.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, said a battle took place on Monday night between foreign troops and Taliban fighters in Arghandab district in southern Zabul province.

Mr Ahmadi claimed a "huge number" of Nato soldiers were killed or wounded in the fighting.

However, the Taliban often exaggerate their claims.

Afghan officials said the five soldiers died in a "friendly fire" error during an air strike, while Nato declined to give details about the deaths.

"I can confirm that five foreign troops were killed as a result of their own bombardment in Arghandab district," said Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewani, police chief of Zabul province.

Mohsin Khan, spokesman for the Afghan army's 205 division, also said the deaths were the result of friendly fire, adding one Afghan soldier was also killed.

Separately, a Nato statement said a service member had died on Monday as a result of a non-battle injury in eastern Afghanistan.

The deaths bring the number of NATO soldiers killed so far this year in Afghanistan to 36, with eight service members killed in June.