Afghanistan/ISAF — Miscommunication Caused Fatal Air Strike, Officials Say

KABUL, Afghanistan, July 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.”

From an Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force News Release