U.S. airstrike targets Taliban, allegedly kills Afghan cops

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan official says at least eight Afghan police officers have been killed in two U.S. airstrikes in southern Uruzgan province in what was apparently a friendly-fire incident.

Rahimullah Khan, a provincial operational commander, says the first airstrike killed one policeman at a checkpoint outside the provincial capital of Tirin Kot, while the second, which struck the same area, killed seven others.

Khan says the airstrikes took place on Sunday afternoon around Tirin Kot. The Taliban have been advancing on the city in recent weeks.

A U.S. military spokesman confirmed that U.S. forces carried out an airstrike, saying they sought to assist Afghan troops who were fired on by the Taliban.

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Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland says he doesn’t “have any further information” on who the casualties may have been.

Tirin Kot is the third Afghan provincial capital that has come under Taliban threat recently, along with the city of Kunduz in the north and Lashkar Gah in southern Helmand province.

U.S. airstrikes around the city were reported quickly after Taliban militants laid siege to Tirin Kot at the beginning of September.

At a September briefing attended by CBS News, an American commander with the U.S.-led Resolute Force mission in Afghanistan said the Taliban would not be permitted to completely overtake any provincial capitals in the country.

The militants are believed to have seized large parts of the surrounding Uruzgan province.