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Officials: 'Miscommunication' cause of accidental NATO airstrike

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The NATO airstrike that killed Afghan soldiers was due to a 'miscommunication,' officials say
  • 6 Afghan soldiers were killed in a friendly fire airstrike Wednesday
  • ISAF spokeswoman regrets the loss of lives

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Military authorities have determined that a NATO airstrike that killed 6 Afghan soldiers Wednesday in eastern Afghanistan was the result of a miscommunication between coalition and national forces.

In a joint Afghan National Army (ANA) and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) statement released Wednesday afternoon, officials said the Afghan soldiers were on a planned patrol in Ghanzi province and had coordinated the location with ISAF officials, however, incorrect location coordinates were shared.

"When an ISAF helicopter patrol came across a group of individuals digging beside the road, in an area that has experienced daily IED detonations and significant casualties, ISAF patrol was cleared to engage the individuals believed to be insurgents," the statement said.

"Unfortunately, after the engagement, ISAF forces discovered the individuals were ANA soldiers on patrol."

"This loss of life is tragic, and we offer condolences to all those who lost loved ones," said Navy Capt. Jane Campbell, ISAF Joint Command spokeswoman, in a statement Wednesday. "We work extremely hard to coordinate and synchronize our operations, and we deeply regret the loss of lives from our Afghan partners."

Two other Afghan soldiers were wounded in the incident.