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 Sports

Star sprinter Torrin Lawrence dies at 25

Fresh
FILE - In this June 20, 2013 file photo, Torrin Lawrence reacts after his heat in the senior men's 400-meter dash at the U.S. Championships athletics meet in Des Moines, Iowa. Former University of Georgia 400-meter runner Torrin Lawrence died in a car accident early Monday, July 28, 2014 in Cordele, Ga. He was 25.

Celebrated track star Torrin Lawrence has been killed in a tragic road accident in Georgia.

in National

U.S. marshals, police wounded, fugitive dead in NYC gunfight

A New York Police Officer stands guard inside a cordoned area at the site of a shooting in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York on July 28, 2014.

Two U.S. marshals and a New York police detective were wounded and a fugitive wanted on sex abuse charges was killed in a shootout in Greenwich Village.

in National, World

U.S says Russia violated nuclear treaty, urges immediate talks

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Monday, June 17, 2013. Obama and Putin discussed the ongoing conflict in Syria during their bilateral meeting.

In another sign of deteriorating relations, the U.S. government claims that Moscow has violated the Cold War treaty.

in National, World

Civilians killed in eastern Ukraine amid fierce fighting

Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard on the suburbs of Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region on July 28, 2014.

Intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine kills at least 19 civilians.

in National

Toy drone disrupts aircraft fighting California wildfire

Firefighters protect an evacuated home while the fast-moving wildfire called "Sand Fire" burns behind, near Plymouth, California on July 26, 2014.

Fire officials spotted a drone over the Sand Fire and immediately called police to have the toy grounded to avoid a possible mid-air collision.