Five American service members were killed in southern Afghanistan when a coalition jet, called in to help ward off a Taliban attack, mistakenly bombed them, an Afghan official said Tuesday.

The five were killed Monday night along with an Afghan soldier in Zabul province, said Ghulam Sakhi Roghliwanai, the province’s police chief.

According to NATO, the troops were conducting a security operation. Such operations have been stepped up ahead of Afghanistan’s presidential runoff election, which will take place Saturday.

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