Report: Friendly fire killed U.S. soldier
From Barbara Starr
CNN Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The first U.S. soldier to die in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan this year was accidentally killed by American gunfire and not by enemy forces, according to a report by military investigators.
The report is expected to get final approval from Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. Central Command.
The March 2 death of Chief Warrant Officer Stanley Harriman was the start of a chain of events that contributed to the worst day of fatalities for U.S. forces during the war.
Harriman, 34, a member of Army Special Forces, was in a convoy of vehicles that began moving into the Shah-i-Kot Valley in the first hours of the operation. His convoy came under attack -- at the time, it was believed, by enemy mortar fire.
The report has concluded the firing actually came from a U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship.
When the convoy came under attack, Afghan forces working with the U.S. troops retreated. It is believed that the opening allowed al Qaeda fighters to regroup and concentrate their mortar fire on U.S. forces.
Seven more U.S. troops died in a fierce battle that followed.
The AC-130 was involved in another friendly fire incident in July, killing dozens of Afghan civilians at a wedding party after they fired into the air, apparently in celebration. U.S. officials said the AC-130 was responding to anti-aircraft fire. (Full story)