News that a recent NATO drone strike has resulted in the deaths of 5 Afghan soldiers has shaken up already tense relations between Washington and Kabul. Government officials have said a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan accidentally killed five Afghan soldiers on Thursday, reported Al Jazeera on March 6, 2014. These deaths are likely to worsen already poor relations between the U.S.-led NATO coalition and President Hamid Karzai, who has often seized on deaths of civilians from airstrikes to launch bitter criticism of the international military initiative in Afghanistan.
Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said on his Twitter account, "At 3:30 a.m. this morning, due to a NATO airstrike in Charkh district, Logar province, five service members of the Afghan national army were martyred and eight others were wounded." Khalilullah Kamal, the Charkh district governor, has told the news agency Agence France-Presse that he had visited the site of the attack. He said the attack was from a U.S. drone. The post, which was taken over by the Afghan army after Americans vacated it, was totally destroyed.
This NATO airstrike that killed at least five Afghan soldiers and injured at least eight others in a tragic incident of friendly fire is likely to further inflame already battered Washington-Kabul relations, reports The Christian Science Monitor. The strike hit an Afghan National Army outpost in the country’s volatile Logar Province, which is located about 50 miles from Kabul.
A Logar provincial spokesman said the mistake was most likely due to poor coordination between the people on the ground and the drone operators. More pressure can now be anticipated from Kabul and elsewhere for the Obama administration to put a stop to drone warfare. It actually appears this type of deadly, imprecise warfare should be declared illegal under international law by the United Nations.