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Dutch killed by 'friendly fire'

  • Story Highlights
  • Dutch troops kill two of their own and two Afghan fighters
  • Officials say the deaths were the result of "confused" weekend skirmishes
  • Another Dutch soldier was wounded during one of the firefights
  • Fighting took place at night near the Dutch base at Deh Rawod
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(CNN) -- Dutch troops killed two of their own comrades and two Afghan soldiers during "confused" weekend skirmishes with Taliban fighters in south-central Afghanistan, the Netherlands' Defense Ministry said Sunday.

Another Dutch soldier was wounded during one of the firefights, which took place Saturday in Oruzgan province, north of Kandahar, Defense Ministry spokesman Robin Middle told CNN.

An investigation into the deaths is under way. Middle said the battles took place at night and in bad weather near the Dutch base at Deh Rawod.

About 1,200 of the roughly 1,500 soldiers from the Netherlands are based in Oruzgan. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force is trying to push back a resurgent Taliban in the region.

U.S. and NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in response to al Qaeda's September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. The Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic militia that ruled most of Afghanistan at the time, allowed the terrorist movement to operate from bases within its territory.

The United States is considering whether to dispatch another 3,000 U.S. Marines to bolster its force of about 26,000 ahead of an expected spring offensive by the Taliban. NATO, meanwhile, has called on members to commit an additional 7,000 troops to the fight. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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