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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Afghanistan: CIA drone kill 2 US soldiers, mistook them for Taliban

Jason Ditz [Antiwar]

The ridiculous inaccuracy of the US drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan has taken another turn for the worse. Reports are now emerging that a US drone strike in Helmand Province actually killed two US soldiers. The official explanation is that they were mistaken for Taliban.

US air strikes mistaking Afghan police or soldiers for Taliban are fairly common, and sometimes US aircraft will see a bunch of children gathering firewood and think “Taliban.” Having US drones firing US missiles at US soldiers leaves one wondering how little confirmation is actually needed before missiles are fired.

The Pentagon has yet to confirm the story, but says the killings are under investigation. They confirmed the deaths in Helmand but never explained how they happened. According to the reports US Marines on the ground had come under fire called for backup and, when the backup troops approached them, called in the strike.

Air strikes have dramatically escalated in Afghanistan over the past several months, since Gen. David Petraeus took over the command of the war and removed a number of restrictions put in place by Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Since then the number of high profile civilian killing incidents has also soared.

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