U.S. and Afghan forces came under fire in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said in Kabul as they launched investigations into what the ny Times described as a deadly shootout between Afghan and American soldiers during a joint exercise.
The Times, quoting two Afghan officials, reported that five or six American soldiers and 6 Afghan soldiers were killed. The newspaper quoted a U.S. military official saying there have been a minimum of six American casualties and confirmed that there have been fatalities without saying what percentage .
Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said a combined U.S. and Afghan force conducting an operation in Nangarhar province was engaged by fire .
Officials in Afghanistan didn’t discuss the amount of casualties.
“We are assessing things and can provide further updates as they become available,” he said.
Mubariz Khadem, a senior security official in Nangarhar, said the clashes happened between U.S. and Afghan forces and casualties were feared.
Insider attacks, often referred to as “green-on-blue” attacks, are a daily feature of the conflict in Afghanistan, although their frequency has diminished in recent years.
A senior Afghan defence official told Reuters it had been not clear whether the incident was a results of clashes between Afghan and foreign forces or whether terrorists were liable for the attack.
“We aren’t ruling any possibility out but we aren’t calling it an insider attack, Taliban attack, or ‘green-on-blue’ at this stage,” said the official who requested anonymity.
Taliban sources weren’t immediately available to comment.
Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial councillor in Nangarhar, said clashes happened between the Afghan army and foreign forces in Shirzad district on Saturday afternoon.
He said members of the Afghan forces had been operating within the area since last month, and foreign forces were also within the district to defend against Taliban attacks.
“It seems that clashes happened between Afghan and foreign forces during a raid or even there was a tactical mistake,” said Qaderi.
Investigations of past rogue attacks had uncovered many reasons for therefore called “green-on-blue” shootings, including frustration with the 18-year war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and other terror groups.
About 14,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Afghanistan as a part of the U.S.-led NATO mission to coach , assist and advise Afghan forces and to hold out counter-terrorism operations.
U.S. diplomats are talking with the Taliban for months to agree a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces in exchange for security guarantees.
Despite talks between the us and therefore the Taliban to finish the war, violence within the country has not ebbed.