News

5 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan

5 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan

U.S. TROOPS:Pvt. Norman Davis, of Bamberg, S.C., front, stands during roll call with fellow soldiers from the Georgia National Guard 876th Vertical EN Company, on the eve the unit deploys to Afghanistan, Thursday, May 29, in Toccoa, Ga. The unit's deployment marks the last for the Georgia Army National Guard to Afghanistan as the military looks to withdrawal all but some 10,000 troops after 2014. Photo: Associated Press/David Goldman

KABUL (Reuters) – Five U.S. servicemen were killed in southern Afghanistan in what appears to be a friendly-fire air strike during a security operation, Afghan police and the Pentagon said on Tuesday, days before a run-off round in the country’s presidential election.

The men died on Monday in Zabul province’s Arghandab district when their unit, part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), clashed with insurgents.

Local police chief Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewanai said: “The five killed were American soldiers who just returned from an operation when they were hit.

“ISAF troops were returning to their bases after an operation when they were ambushed by the insurgents. The air strike mistakenly hit their own forces and killed the soldiers.”

A Pentagon statement said investigators were “looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen.”

A spokesman for the Islamist Taliban, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said insurgents had been attacking the foreign forces when the helicopters intervened and accidentally killed their own troops.

It’s one of the worst such incidents in the nearly 14-year war.

Taliban insurgents, meanwhile, kidnapped 35 professors from Kandahar University after stopping their van on the highway linking the southern province and Kabul, a spokesman for provincial governor said.

“The professors were on their way to the capital when they were abducted and tribal elders are now involved in negotiating with the Taliban,” Dawa Khan Minapal said by telephone.

The Taliban, removed from power by a U.S.-led drive into Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks, is on an offensive ahead of the planned withdrawal of most foreign troops by the end of 2014.

Security is being ramped up in Afghanistan ahead of Saturday’s run-off vote to replace President Hamid Karzai.

The poll pits Abdullah Abdullah, a former leader of the opposition to the Taliban, against former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi in Kabul, Sarwar Amani in Kandahar, Writing by Praveen Menon; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Recent Headlines

in Black Friday, Entertainment

‘Frozen’ tops Barbie as top girls’ holiday pick

frozen

The results marked the first time in 11 years that Barbie hasn't held the No. 1 spot in the annual toy survey.

in Black Friday, Viral Videos

Black Friday facts that will make you think twice

22-overlay2

Before you wait in line for doorbuster deals, check out these Black Friday facts.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: ‘Friends of the Galaxy’ mashup

24-overlay2

If "Guardians of the Galaxy" was set to the "Friends" theme.

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Nov. 28

willienelson

A look at the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in Black Friday, Viral Videos

Jimmy Fallon’s favorite #ThanksgivingFails

13-overlay6

Think you've had a rough Thanksgiving? It could always be worse.