The men were killed on Monday when their unit, part of the
NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, clashed with
insurgents and were mistakenly hit by their own forces in an air
strike, local police chief Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewanai said.
Justin Helton, 25, a U.S. Army bomb specialist from Beaver,
Ohio, was among the dead, his cousin, Mindy Helton, said in a
Aaron Toppen, 19, of Mokena, Illinois, also was killed in the
air strike in Afghanistan, said Jennie Swartz, who was acting as
a spokeswoman for the Toppen family.
Helton, who had been in the service since 2010, was engaged to
be married, Mindy Helton said. Military representatives on
Tuesday notified Helton's family of his death, she said.
"We are just exhausted," Helton said. "Yesterday was
overwhelming and we are waiting to hear what happens next."
The Pentagon has said investigators were looking into the
likelihood that the deaths were caused by friendly fire.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland, Brendan O'Brien in
Milwaukee and Hamid Shalizi in Kabul; Writing by David Bailey;
Editing by Sandra Maler)
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