US airstrike kills 16 Afghan policemen in Helmand as Taliban leader’s son believed dead in suicide attack
A US airstrike has killed 16 policemen in Afghanistan, officials said Saturday, the latest setback to Washington’s efforts to bring peace to the war-torn country.
The incident took place in Helmand province on Friday as Afghan security forces attempted to clear a village of Taliban militants, Salam Afghan, a police spokesman, said.
“In the strike, 16 Afghan policemen were killed including two commanders. Two other policemen were wounded,” he said.
The strike hit a compound in Gereshk district in Helmand, large parts of which are under Taliban control.
“A US-supported (Afghan security) operation… resulted in the deaths of… friendly Afghan forces who were gathered in a compound,” Nato’s mission in Afghanistan said in a statement.
“We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families affected by this unfortunate incident,” the statement said, adding there would be a probe into what happened.
This follows the news that the son of Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada died on Thursday carrying out a suicide attack in Helmand.
Abdur Rahman, 23, also known as Hafiz Khalid, was driving a vehicle laden with explosives into an Afghan military base in the town of Gereshk, north of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, the Taliban’s main spokesman for southern Afghanistan, said.