US Soldiers Killed in Eastern Afghanistan After Afghan Soldier Opens Fire

Frederick Owens
June 17, 2017

Two U.S. soldiers were killed and one other was injured when an Afghan soldier opened fire on Saturday, the U.S. military said.

According to the spokesman Attahullah Khogyani of the Nangarhar province governor, where the incident occurred, the United States servicemen were killed by a soldier of the Afghanistan armed forces.

Khogyani said the Afghan soldier was a commando and was killed after the attack.

The U.S. military has not commented.

The soldiers were shot in an apparent insider attack, also known as a "green-on-blue" because of the color-coding system used by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, a U.S official told CNN.

"Green on blue" violence, or insider attacks by Afghan soldiers on USA or other foreign troops, have become rare as coalition forces have mostly withdrawn from Afghanistan.

Attacks on Afghan troops by U.S. forces in the past have also caused mistrust between the two. A Taliban spokesman sent a text message to journalists Saturday claiming the alleged assailant was an "infiltrator" of the Afghan army.

Editor's note: This story is developing and will be updated as soon as additional information is available. The statement provided no further details of the incident but said it was under investigation.

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A White House spokesman said Trump was "following the emerging situation in Afghanistan" where the soldiers were killed.

Currently, there are about 8,400 USA troops and another 5,000 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan to train and assist Afghan forces against the Taliban and conduct counter-terrorism missions.

Ismail Shinwari, a district governor in Achin, said the incident happened in the Pekha Valley region of the Achin district.

The attacker was killed after USA troops returned fire.

The so-called "green-on-blue" attack on Saturday is the latest in a line of incidents where Afghan soldiers have turned their weapons on worldwide forces they are working with.

Currently, there are more than 8,000 American troops helping the Afghan military in its fight against the Taliban. The larger of the two, known as Resolute Support, is focused on advising and assisting Afghan security forces with the goal of enabling them to independently protect the country's populace from a resilient Taliban. That Afghan soldier was also killed following the incident.

Inside attacks like this are called green on blue attacks because of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation color coding system, reports the New York Times. The three soldiers killed earlier this year died fighting an Islamic State affiliate in Nangarhar.

American troops have partnered with Afghan soldiers in raids against IS Khorasan, claiming the local offshoot of the jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria is steadily losing ground in Afghanistan.

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