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 Entertainment

Today’s celebrity birthdays

Fresh
tomlin

These celebrities will celebrate their birthdays on Labor Day.

in Local Sports

Kasey Kahne holds off Kenseth to win Atlanta shootout

Checkered-flag

Kasey Kahne grabbed the lead on the restart following a caution with 23 laps remaining and held off Matt Kenseth in a two-lap shootout to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night.

in Local Sports

Fred Couples wins Champions Tour event

Fred Couples walks up to the ninth green during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 11, 2014, in Augusta, Ga.

Fred Couples won the Champions Tour's Shaw Charity Classic on Sunday, chipping in for eagle for a course-record 9-under 61 and beating Billy Andrade with a tap-in birdie on the first hole of a playoff.

in Local Sports

FC Kansas City wins NWSL title over Seattle, 2-1

Seattle Reign FC goalie Hope Solo waves to fans after an NWSL soccer game against the Sky Blue FC Saturday, June 28, 2014, in Seattle. Solo was arrested at a suburban Seattle home on suspicion of assaulting her sister and 17-year-old nephew a week ago, then pleaded not guilty and was released without bail after a court appearance Monday, June 23. She was eligible to play in Saturday's match, but did not start.

Amy Rodriguez scored twice as FC Kansas City won the National Women's Soccer League title with a 2-1 win over Seattle Reign FC at Starfire Stadium on Sunday.

in Sports

Down at half, US beats Turkey in basketball worlds

Basketball

Kenneth Faried scored 22 points, Anthony Davis all of his 19 in the second half, and the U.S. rebounded from a rare deficit at halftime to beat Turkey 98-77 on Sunday in the Basketball World Cup.