Gazing out over a valley in the Paktika Province in Afghanistan in 2013, a soldier in a U.S. Army infantry outpost filmed as his unit waited for an air strike to rain down on a group of Taliban fighters in the distance. Instead, the 500-pound bomb appears to have targeted the Americans, coming within feet of dealing catastrophic damage to the cameraman and his fellow soldiers.
While there were no friendly fire casualties, the video allegedly shows the strike's aftermath, with one outpost structure leveled and another apparently perforated by shrapnel.
In an interview with Funker 530, the cameraman explained just how close they had come to serious injury or death, saying if the soldiers hadn't been ordered to "stand to," at least three people would have been killed.
Then we went up to check on the rest of the boys. Luckily our First Sergeant called up and put everyone on stand to, inadvertently saving the lives of at least 3 soldiers who would have been in the bay that had shrapnel sent through every inch of it including shearing holes into weapons. Once the smoke had cleared and realized no one was seriously injured, we just sitting there in awe as the anger started to build.
Funker 530 told The Huffington Post the incident took place last year, and that the subjects of the video would prefer to remain anonymous. Apparently no further information has been released about why the pilot targeted the U.S. position instead of the Taliban's.
Air strikes have previously led to friendly fire casualties in the 12 years of the Afghanistan war. In 2007, a U.S. strike killed three British soldiers. In the past five years, a number of NATO-led strikes have also led to the deaths of Afghan police and soldiers.
Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested the U.S. Army was responsible for the mistake. While it's unclear which branch of the military dropped the bomb, the Army is generally not responsible for this type of air strike.