An American drone apparently killed two U.S. troops in Afghanistan last week in what may be a first-of-its-kind case of friendly fire.
NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski writes that the strike killed a Marine Staff Sergeant and Navy corpsman while they were reinforcing Marines under fire from the Taliban in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The Marines reportedly saw the troops headed towards them through a Predator’s infrared camera, could not distinguish them from attacking Taliban and ordered in the Predator-borne Hellfire missile airstrike that killed the two men.
“It’s believed that this is the first time that U.S. service members have been killed by a Predator in a friendly fire incident,” Miklaszewski reports.
The strike follows the Los Angeles Times’ in-depth chronicling of a February 2010 drone strike gone awry. In the incident, a combination of misinterpreted signals and the fog or war led drone operators and special operations forces on the ground to think a convoy of Afghan civilians in vehicles was an inbound Taliban attack force. The strike killed 15-16 men, one woman and three children according to the U.S. military. Local Afghans set the number of dead at 23, including two children. [read more]
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