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U.S. Investigating Strike Said To Have Killed 11 Afghan Police

Afghan security officials inspect the site of a bomb attack in Helmand in June.

The U.S. military says it will investigate an air strike carried out in southern Afghanistan after local officials said 11 counter-narcotics agents were killed.

"Based on information we received today, we feel it is prudent to investigate the air strike our forces conducted in Kandahar" on September 6, Brigadier General Wilson Shoffner said September 8.

Afghan officials said that a NATO air strike in neighboring Helmand province killed 11 Afghan counter-narcotics police officers during an operation to arrest drug smugglers.

The U.S. military has denied carrying out any airstrikes in Helmand September 6, but the desert area where the officers were killed was in Rigestan, a barren plateau without clear borders that stretches across Helmand and Kandahar.

If the local reports are confirmed, the incident would be the deadliest incident of friendly fire involving international troops since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001.

It is not the first time this year that American troops were accused of accidentally killing their Afghan partners. In July, a U.S. strike killed eight Afghan soldiers, apparently mistaking them for opposition fighters. The U.S. apologized for that incident.

Based on reporting by AP and The Guardian