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NATO Airstrike Accidentally Kills 5 Afghan Troops

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NATO Airstrike Accidentally Kills 5 Afghan Troops

Afghan officials say a NATO airstrike has mistakenly killed at least five Afghan soldiers.

Officials said Wednesday the troops were on patrol in the eastern province of Ghazni, when a NATO aircraft began shooting at them.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said two Afghan soldiers were also wounded in the "friendly fire" attack. The spokesman condemned the incident, saying this is not the first time NATO troops have mistakenly killed Afghan soldiers.

NATO spokesman General Josef Blotz expressed regret for the deaths and promised a joint investigation of the incident. He said the botched strike was likely caused by a coordination issue.

In other Afghanistan news, British troops are set to withdraw from one of the deadliest areas in southern Afghanistan, handing over control of the district to the United States. Reports say Britain will soon withdraw its 1,000 soldiers from the Sangin district of Helmand province. They will be replaced by U.S. forces, who now outnumber British troops in the region.

About one third of the 312 British soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since the operation began in 2001 were killed in the Sangin district.

The British Ministry of Defense has not commented on the move, but British Defense Secretary Liam Fox is expected to make an announcement on changes for the country's troops in Afghanistan later Wednesday.

On Tuesday, NATO said four service members were killed in attacks in Afghanistan. A NATO statement said three troops were killed in the volatile south, and the fourth in the east.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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