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ISAF probes police deaths

KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- NATO said it will send an assessment team to investigate an airstrike in Afghanistan's central Daykundi in which three Afghan policemen were killed.

The incident occurred Sunday during a patrol, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said on its Web site. The report said an ISAF team identified nine armed individuals "setting up what appeared to be an ambush position."

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It said the team requested and received support from an air weapons team that engaged the armed individuals.

"It was later determined the air weapons team may have engaged an Afghan police team. Wounded individuals were immediately transported to a local hospital," the report said.

U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, director of ISAF Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center, in offering condolences to the families of the police officers, said the forces take extraordinary precautions to avoid friendly casualties but "it appears innocent people may have been mistakenly targeted."

The New York Times quoted the provincial police chief as saying the Afghans were members of a local police team on its way to meet a unit of the American Special Forces for a joint patrol. A coalition forces spokeswoman said she could not confirm the police chief's statement, noting the assessment team would look into it.

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Two Afghan policemen and a civilian were killed Monday in a suicide car bomb attack in southern Kandahar province, the birthplace of the Taliban.

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