(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
Kabul, Kandahar – The Taliban claimed on Saturday an insider attack by an Afghan commando that left three American Troops dead US and Afghan officials said.
One US soldier was wounded in the incident.
Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP the Afghan commando had opened fire on US troops during an operation in the volatile Achin district.
“The (Afghan) soldier was also killed in the return fire,” he said.
The Pentagon said the families of the three dead soldiers were being informed.
“One US soldier was wounded and has been evacuated for medical treatment,” a spokesman added. “This incident is under investigation.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the deaths, saying the attack was carried out by an infiltrator.
This is a latest in a line of so-called “green-on-blue” attacks where Afghan soldiers have turned their weapons on international forces they are working with.
It also comes as the Taliban ramp up their campaign against the Western-backed government in Afghanistan, and as US President Donald Trump mulls sending more troops into the lengthy conflict.
Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed on Twitter that four US soldiers were killed in the attack. The insurgents are known to exaggerate battlefield claims.
Achin is also contested by militants of the ISIS group.
In April, the US military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat on a complex of caves in Achin used by ISIS fighters.
The deployment of the so-called Mother Of All Bombs killed dozens of extremists, but fighting in the area has continued.
American troops have partnered with Afghan soldiers in raids against ISIS Khorasan, claiming the local offshoot of the militant group based in Iraq and Syria is steadily losing ground in Afghanistan.
Green-on-blue attacks have been a major problem during NATO’s long years fighting alongside Afghan forces.
Western officials say most insider attacks stem from personal grudges and cultural misunderstandings rather than insurgent plots.
Saturday’s attack came just hours after an errant US air strike killed and wounded at least six Afghan policemen in southern Helmand province, in the latest “friendly fire” incident.
Such strikes have bred deep mistrust between local and foreign forces.
Three US troops were wounded in March when an Afghan soldier opened fire in Helmand, in the first known insider attack on international forces this year.
Similar incidents have also plagued Afghan troops, depleting morale and causing mistrust within security ranks.