Two American troops were killed and six others wounded when an Afghan soldier armed with a machine gun opened fire, the US military confirmed Sunday.
The incident occurred late Saturday in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan when US and Afghan commandos were conducting a “key-leader engagement” at a base in Sherzad district.
“Current reports indicate an individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined US and Afghan force with a machine gun,” US Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Sonny Leggett said in a statement on Sunday.
Provincial governor Shah Mahmood Meyakhil said in an audio message to reporters that three Afghan commandos were wounded.
He said it was not immediately clear if the incident was a deliberate act by an “infiltrator” or an accident.
“It was not a clash between the forces. We are investigating,” Meyakhil said.
Leggett also stressed the cause or motive behind the attack were not immediately known.
In a tweet, the US Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) said “several” of its soldiers had been killed or injured during combat operations in Afghanistan.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid later declined to comment on the incident, saying in a message sent to AFP only that the militants were “investigating” the attack.
Last year was the deadliest for US forces in Afghanistan since combat operations officially finished at the end of 2014.
Depending on how one qualifies combat deaths, about 20 American troops were killed in 2019. Since the US-led invasion in October 2001, about 2,400 US troops have been killed in combat in Afghanistan.