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NATO airstrike kills five Afghan soldiers

A NATO airstrike has killed five Afghan soldiers in the country's eastern Logar province. The military coalition confirmed it had accidentally killed the Afghan National Army personnel.

"At 3:30 a.m. this morning, due to a NATO airstrike in Charkh district, Logar province, five service members of the Afghan national army were martyred and eight others were wounded," defense ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi wrote on his Twitter account Thursday.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed in a statement that "five personnel were accidentally killed this morning during an operation in eastern Afghanistan."

"An investigation is being conducted at this time to determine the circumstances that led to this unfortunate incident," the statement said. "Our condolences go out to the families of the ANA soldiers who lost their lives and were wounded."

Khalilullah Kamal, the Charkh district governor, told AFP news agency he had visited the site of the attack.

"The post is totally destroyed," he said. "The Americans used to be in that post but since they left, the ANA took over. The post is on a hilltop. The attack was conducted by drones."

Afghanistan anger

Thursday's strike is likely to increase tension between NATO officials and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has been a vocal critic of the US-led attacks that have killed scores of civilians and troops.

"We condemn the attack on the Afghan National Army in Logar," said Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi. "The president has ordered an investigation."

The US is

currently negotiating a security deal

with Afghanistan outlining the country's presence in the country after the international troop pullout to be completed at the end of this year, with immunity for American soldiers a major sticking point.

"We value the strong relationship with our Afghan partners, and we will determine what actions will be taken to ensure incidents like this do not happen again," NATO said.

The defense ministry said that the dead and wounded from the attack had been transferred to Kabul and a delegation had been sent to the site of the incident to investigate.

dr/hc (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

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