Pentagon Investigates if Friendly Fire Caused Troop Deaths

The Defense Department is investigating whether munitions released from a friendly aircraft took the lives of five US troops in southern Afghanistan on June 9, said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby on Tuesday. “We do have reason to suspect that friendly fire was the cause here, specifically friendly fire from the air,” Kirby told reporters during a June 10 press conference. “But the issue’s under investigation. … We need to let investigators do their work,” he added. The casualties occurred as these troops came into contact with enemy forces, according to a June 10 release from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these fallen,” said Kirby, who called what happened a “tragic incident all the way around.” He declined to identify what aircraft type may have been involved. One Afghan soldier was also reportedly killed in the incident; Kirby could not confirm that. (Kirby transcript)