Associated Press – Feb 9, 2020
Two US soldiers were killed and six wounded in a so-called insider attack in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province when an Afghan soldier in uniform opened fire late on Saturday, the US military said.
A member of the Nangarhar Provincial Council, Ajmal Omer, said the gunman was killed.
There have been numerous attacks by Afghan national army soldiers on their allied partners over the 18 years of Afghanistan’s protracted war.
An Afghan defence ministry official, who was not identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the shooter was an Afghan soldier who had argued with the US forces before opening fire. He was not a Taliban infiltrator, the official said.
The US military said in a statement: “An individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined US and Afghan force with a machine-gun. We are still collecting information and the cause or motive behind the attack is unknown at this time.”
Omer, who is a member of the provincial council, is from Nangarhar province’s Sherzad district, where he said the incident took place. An Afghan soldier was wounded, he said.
The US military said American and Afghan military personnel were fired on while conducting an operation in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.
Last July, two US service members were killed by an Afghan soldier in the southern Kandahar province. The shooter was wounded and arrested. In September, three US military personnel were wounded when an member of the Afghan civil order police fired on a military convoy, also in Kandahar.
The incident came as Washington has sought to find an end to the war in Afghanistan.
Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been meeting Taliban representatives in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar in recent weeks. He is seeking an agreement to reduce hostilities to get a peace deal signed that would start negotiations among Afghans on both sides of the conflict.
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, president Donald Trump referenced the peace talks, saying US soldiers were not meant to serve as “law-enforcement agencies” for other nations.
“In Afghanistan, the determination and valor of our war fighters has allowed us to make tremendous progress, and peace talks are now underway.”