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Defense Ministry: Coalition Air Strike Kills 9 Afghan Soldiers


Afghanistan - Daily Life (Slideshow)

Afghanistan's Defense Ministry says international troops have mistakenly killed nine Afghan soldiers and wounded three others in an air strike in the east of the country.

Ministry officials say the strike hit an army checkpoint in Khost early Wednesday. The ministry condemned the attack, warning it could weaken the morale of Afghan security forces.

An American military statement says U.S.-led coalition forces were returning from an operation when they were involved in fighting that may have killed and injured Afghan soldiers. The statement called the incident "a case of mistaken identity on both sides."

U.S. military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian says U.S. and Afghan officials will meet to investigate the incident.

In southern Uruzgan province Wednesday, Afghan officials say a two-day clash between security forces and Taliban militants killed 35 insurgents and three Afghan police officers.

Officials say at least 100 Taliban fighters were involved in the fighting, which ended early Wednesday.

In other news, British Defense Secretary John Hutton flew into Afghanistan Tuesday for his first visit to the country since taking the post three weeks ago. Hutton visited Musa Qala district in the volatile southern Helmand province, where the Taliban remain strong and where British troops are based.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.