Gunman in Afghan army uniform kills two US soldiers and injures six in Nangarhar; shot dead by forces

  • Two US soldiers were killed and six wounded in a so-called insider attack in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province late Saturday

  • A member of Nangarhar's provincial council, Ajmal Omer, told The Associated Press that the gunman was killed

  • There have been numerous attacks by Afghan national army soldiers on their allied partners during 18 years of America's protracted war

Kabul: Two US soldiers were killed and six wounded in a so-called insider attack in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province late Saturday when an Afghan dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire, the US military said.

 Gunman in Afghan army uniform kills two US soldiers and injures six in Nangarhar; shot dead by forces

Representational image. AP

A member of Nangarhar's provincial council, Ajmal Omer, told The Associated Press that the gunman was killed. There have been numerous attacks by Afghan national army soldiers on their allied partners during 18 years of America's protracted war in Afghanistan.

Six US service members have been killed in Afghanistan since the start of 2020, including Saturday's casualties. Last year, 22 US service personnel died in combat there.

An Afghan defense 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.

In a statement, the US military said “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, the provincial council member, is from Nangarhar province's Sherzad district, where he said the incident took occurred. An Afghan soldier was also wounded, Omer said.

The US military said American and Afghan military personnel were fired on while conducting an operation in 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 with Taliban representatives in the West Asian state of Qatar in recent weeks. He's 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," he said.

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Updated Date: Feb 09, 2020 19:53:11 IST