U.S. Special Operations forces have suffered casualties following an ambush in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan on Saturday.
A U.S. Military official who spoke to the New York Times indicated up to six U.S. casualties, including an undisclosed number of fatalities. Afghan officials also indicated as six Afghan National Army troops were also killed in what may have been an ambushed launched by Afghan troops against their U.S. military partners.
“A combined U.S. and Afghan force conducting an operation in Nangarhar Province was engaged by direct fire on Feb. 8,” Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, said as reports of the attack first circulated. “We are assessing the situation and will provide further updates as they become available.”
A source who spoke to Military Times further indicated the U.S. troops attacked were members of the 7th Special Forces Group and that at least two U.S. soldiers were killed.
The ability to confirm details surrounding the incident may be complicated by the fact that forces in the Nangarhar province have also fought with both Taliban and ISIS affiliated fighters in the area in recent months.
Our first update on the deadly shootout between U.S. and Afghan forces in Nangarhar.
Details are still scarce; casualty numbers in situations like this change. Still unclear whether it was Taliban infiltrators, or it was an argument that turned deadly.https://t.co/6qCMuQKqu6
— Mujib Mashal (@MujMash) February 8, 2020
Insider attacks, also known as “Green on Blue” attacks, have also become common throughout ongoing coalition operations in the country.
In September, a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police wounded three U.S. troops when he opened fire on a passing convoy in the Afghan capital of Kandahar.
Two U.S. paratroopers were killed in Afghanistan in July of last year as the result of an insider attack.