Kabul: Officials say a NATO airstrike has mistakenly killed five of its Afghan army allies while they were on patrol in the country`s east.
Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi condemned Wednesday morning`s deaths, saying it was not the first time Afghan troops have died in "friendly fire."
Azimi said the Afghan troops were launching a morning ambush against insurgents on the move in Ghazni province when NATO aircraft began firing on them. Five Afghan soldiers died and two more were wounded.
NATO spokesman Josef Blotz confirmed the botched airstrike and said he regretted the deaths. He said a joint investigation has been launched.
Earlier the international force in Afghanistan says three American troops have been killed by a roadside bomb in the violence-wracked south.
A NATO statement says two troops died immediately after the blast Tuesday. A third died later that day. NATO said all three were Americans but gave no other details.
Southern Afghanistan is one of the Taliban`s strongest areas of influence. Violence there is increasing as thousands of American soldiers arrive to try to establish Afghan government control.
Roadside bombs are a leading cause of casualties in Afghanistan. Last month was the deadliest for international forces in the nearly nine-year-old war, with 103 killed, including 60 Americans.