Five American troops who were Special Operations Forces were killed Monday night in a "friendly fire" when they requested air support from a coalition jet after coming into contact with the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.
According to the Department of Defense, the B-1 bomber mistakenly fired at the troops, killing several of them, Fox News reports.
"Five American troops were killed yesterday during a security operation in southern Afghanistan. Investigators are looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
A statement released from NATO confirmed the troop's deaths, but did not give any details.
"The casualties occurred during a security operation when their unit came into contact with enemy forces," the statement from NATO's International Security Assistance Force read. "Tragically, there is the possibility that fratricide may have been involved. The incident is under investigation. Our thoughts are with the families of those killed during this difficult time.
According to NATO, the troops were engaging in a security operation, which are heightened due to Afghanistan's upcoming presidential election. The service members were killed along with an Afghan soldier in Zabul province, said Ghulam Sakhi Roghliwanai, the province's police chief.
Roghliwanai said the troops had completed a military sweep at about 9 p.m. Monday (12:30 p.m. ET) when the terrorist group attacked. The troops instantly called in backup from U.S. coalition jets.
"But the airstrike mistakenly bombed their own friends too," Roghliwanai stated.
The U.S. has backed off from engaging in warfare, instead allowing the Afghan Army and police to fight the Taliban insurgency. Currently, the only U.S. troops now involved in combat operations are Special Operations Forces that are in place to mentor members of the Afghan militia. All combat troops are scheduled to be withdrawn from the country by the end of this year.
Ten years after toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the terrorist group is slowly regaining power, according to Amnesty International. Currently, the Taliban is increasing their attacks on opposing foreign forces ahead of the country's presidential election runoff Saturday. Officials fear there may be more violence around the time of the vote.
In addition to military personnel, the Taliban often targets foreign relief organizations and non-governmental organizations as well as, accusing them of evangelizing Afghans. Because of the dangerous atmosphere, few Christian relief workers are able to enter the country. Instead, the gospel is often delivered through alternative routes, such as radio and television.
SAT-7 is a ministry of five satellite television channels that reach local churches in the Middle East. The organization works to spread the gospel though inspirational, informative and educational television services in the war-torn region.
"The Taliban will relentlessly kill anyone who opposes their belief system. They primarily target Christians and those who fight for religious freedoms in the country. Through prayer and spreading the gospel, we can change such a culture," said a donor to SAT-7, who preferred to remain anonymous due to safety reasons.
"Despite terrorist's attempts to stomp out Christianity, our God is stronger than even the most brute of forces," she continued.
To help spreading the gospel to the war-torn Middle East, visit www.sat7.org.