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Possible friendly fire incident in Afghanistan: official

Up to 25 NATO and Afghan soldiers wounded during a hunt for two American troops missing in Afghanistan may have been hit by friendly fire, a Western military official said on Saturday.

world Updated: Nov 07, 2009 17:00 IST

Up to 25 NATO and Afghan soldiers wounded during a hunt for two American troops missing in Afghanistan may have been hit by friendly fire, a Western military official said on Saturday.

A search operation for the US paratroopers missing in western Afghanistan may have been hit by friendly fire during a clash with militants, the official told AFP.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the casualties appeared to have been caused in a "blue-on-blue incident", or due to friendly fire, resulting in "a huge number of casualties".

While the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withheld comment on how the 25 were wounded, police said the casualties occurred when an air strike mistakenly targeted international troops.

NATO began its search operation in the barren, rugged area together with Afghan forces after the two paratroopers, from the 82nd Airborne Division, went missing on Wednesday during a routine supply mission.

Afghan police said the two had drowned.

As far as the injured were concerned, an ISAF statement said only that initial reports "indicate more than 25 ISAF and Afghan National Security Force members were wounded," during a joint operation in western Afghanistan.

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