American troops kill seven Afghan cops

Jalalabad, June 12:

Seven Afghan policemen were killed in a gunfight that erupted between police and US soldiers in unclear circumstances in eastern Afghanistan, government officials said today.

Afghan police said the soldiers had attacked a police checkpost in the eastern province of Nangarhar around midnight but the US-led coalition said its soldiers had come under attack and returned fire.

“Last night at 12, as a result of a misunderstanding, the coalition forces attacked a police post in Nangarhar in which seven policemen were martyred and another five were wounded,” interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said. A brigade commander for the province, Nasir Ahmad Safi, accused the US forces of attacking the post in the Khogyani district, about 30 km southwest of the provincial capital, Jalalabad.

“Last night the Americans attacked our police post in the district and then they asked for air support. They attacked us from ground and air,” he said, adding: “They killed seven policemen brutally.” The district governor, Haji Zalmai, also confirmed that seven policemen were dead and said three were wounded in the attack.

The US-led coalition force said the troops had come under attack while trying to “conduct an operation on a suspected Taliban safe house.” “En route to the location the forces were suddenly ambushed from both sides with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms and returned fire and called in air support and broke contact,” spokesman Major Chris Belcher said.