Eight highway police officers are dead after a weekend airstrike by US forces in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official said Monday.
Highway police commander Colonel Rahimullah said one officer died in an initial strike, followed by seven others who rushed to the burning checkpoint only to be hit by a second strike in Afghanistan's embattled southern Uruzgan province.
Rahimullah said that checkpoint was around 800 metres away from Taliban positions and those "Taliban positions had their white flags up."
The Taliban uses white flags to show its area of control, indicating it should have been clear to US forces where to target their attack. He added that those responsible for the strike must be punished.
Brigadier General Charles Cleveland, NATO Resolute Support's spokesman, said the two airstrikes were conducted against "individuals firing on or posing threat to our Afghan partners," in Uruzgan's capital, Tarin Kowt.
He added that no further details were available on "who those individuals might have been or why they were attacking," Afghan security forces.
Tarin Kowt, the capital city of Uruzgan, has been under heavy pressure from Taliban forces and was on the verge of falling to Taliban forces more than a week ago.
Afghan forces were able to thwart the Taliban advance, but surrounding areas still remain under heavy threat.
Afghanistan's ministry for refugees said at least 5,000 families have been displaced from villages around Tarin Kowt as a result of heavy fighting between Taliban and Afghan forces in the past 10 days.