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3 US soldiers killed, 1 wounded in Afghan commando attack

An Afghan commando attends a ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan. A commando opened fire on U.S. troops in Nangarhar province on Saturday, June 10, 2017, killing three U.S. soldiers and wounding one.

KAY M. NISSEN/NATO

By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 10, 2017

KABUL, Afghanistan — Three U.S. soldiers were killed and another was wounded Saturday in eastern Afghanistan.

A local official said the troops were killed when an Afghan commando opened fire on them.

The incident happened in the Achin district in Nangarhar province, where U.S. forces have been helping Afghan troops battle a local branch of the Islamic State group and Taliban militants, provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told Stars and Stripes.

Khogyani initially said two American servicemembers were killed and two others were wounded before the Afghan attacker was fatally shot. The gunman was killed by American troops, The Washington Post reported, citing a security official in the province.

The Pentagon later said three American servicemembers were killed and one was wounded, suggesting one succumbed to his or her injuries.

In a statement, the Pentagon didn't provide details about the attack. It said the incident is under investigation and that the soldiers' families were being notified.

The wounded soldier was evacuated for medical treatment, according to the Defense Department statement.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that a member of the group managed to infiltrate Afghan forces and carry out the attack, which he said killed four Americans.

A spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan said earlier that they were aware of the incident and would release more information “when appropriate.”

So-called green-on-blue attacks, when Afghan security officials attack international troops, have happened frequently throughout the 16-year war in Afghanistan.

In March, three U.S. troops were wounded in Helmand province when an Afghan soldier who pledged loyalty to the Taliban opened fire on them.

Saturday’s deaths bring the total number of U.S. combat fatalities in Afghanistan in 2017 to six. The previous three also occurred in Nangarhar.

Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37; Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22; and Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, were all killed by small-arms fire in April.

A seventh U.S. servicemember, Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Boniface, died in a non-combat incident in March.

Zubair Babakarkhail and Lauren King contributed to this report.

wellman.phillip@stripes.com


Twitter: @PhillipWellman

 

Afghan National Army soldiers wait for transport on July 8, 2012, at a base in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, where three U.S. servicemembers were killed by an Afghan soldier on Saturday, June 10, 2017.
QUINTON RUSS/U.S. AIR FORCE

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