No Americans were reported killed in the incident.
“The U.S. conducted precision self-defense air strikes on people firing on Afghan and American forces conducting a ground movement near an ANA check point in Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province on Wednesday,” said Army Lt. Ubon Mendie, a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, in an email to Military Times. “The strikes were conducted after Afghan and U.S. forces came under effective small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire and requested air support in self-defense.”
Mendie said that the Afghan and U.S. forces attempted to de-escalate the situation but continued to receive fire.
“We are operating in a complex environment where enemy fighters do not wear uniforms and use stolen military vehicles to attack government forces," Mendie added.
Afghanistan’s ministry of defense said in a statement: “Unfortunately due to misunderstanding a coalition strike in self defense hit a check point.”
As a result, five ANA soldiers were killed and another 10 were wounded, the Afghan ministry said, adding that the incident is under investigation.
Mohammed Karim Karimi, the deputy head of the Uruzgan provincial council, told the New York Times that the U.S. forces believed they heard gunfire coming from the base, and a firefight broke out as a result.
“It is still not confirmed who fired first, but then they both engaged in a firefight,” Karimi told the Times, adding that the fight went on for several hours and occurred around 3 a.m. local time.
Qais Mangal, a spokesman for the Afghan defense ministry told the Times that the incident "was a mistake between them,” but that the Afghan checkpoint fired first.
“The Afghan Army outpost opened fire first on a unit of Afghan and foreign forces headed to a military operation," Mangal said.
Taliban insurgents frequently pilfer U.S. and Afghan military equipment and uniforms to bolster their supplies and disguise themselves during attacks.
Kyle Rempfer was an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.