‘Insider’ Attack Wounds US Soldier in E. Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan says a U.S. soldier has been wounded in what it calls an “active ground engagement.”

The incident occurred in the troubled Achin district in Nangarhar, said the mission’s public affairs director, Capt. Tom Gresback, but he did not discuss the nature of the clash in eastern Afghanistan.

No coalition service members were killed in the engagement. One U.S. service member was wounded and is in stable condition at a medical treatment facility, he said.

Local media quoted sources as saying the incident prompted the U.S. military to call in airstrikes against the assailants, causing several fatalities, but there was no official confirmation.

We are looking into the details of engagement with our Afghan partners and will provide more information when appropriate, Gresback said.

We continue to strategically push IS-K back from their fighting positions, taking seven kilometers and clearing much of the Mohmand Valley, Nangarhar, he added.

IS-K or Islamic State Khorasan is the Afghan affiliate of the Middle East-based terrorist group. The militants are active in several southern districts of Nangarhar, including Achin.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed the insurgent group was behind the attack.

In a statement sent to VOA, Mujahid said American forces were engaged in a meeting with members of a pro-government Afghan militia when two Taliban infiltrators opened fire on them. He said the insider attack left 16 Afghan and U.S. forces dead. The insurgent group often issues inflated casualty tolls for such incidents.

The attack came hours after the provincial government announced in a statement that Afghan forces killed nearly two dozen Taliban insurgents, including four commanders, in the nearby Khogyani district.

Mujahid, while commenting on that incident, confirmed the killing of its eight fighters but claimed ensuing fierce clashes also left 13 Afghan special forces dead.

Several southern districts in Nangarhar house IS and Taliban bases. Afghan forces backed by U.S. air power routinely conduct anti-terrorism operations in the province bordering Pakistan.

A New Year’s Day attack on a military patrol in Achin killed one U.S. soldier. One-third of the 21 American soldiers killed in combat in 2017 in Afghanistan died in Nangarhar, making it the deadliest province for the U.S. military.

Source: Voice of America