Washington, The US Department of Defence has confirmed that two US soldiers were killed after an attack on a joint US-Afghan military operation in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province on Saturday.
“Both soldiers died February 8, 2020 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations,” said the Pentagon in a statement released on Sunday, adding that the incident is under investigation, Xinhua reported.
Both soldiers were assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), according to the statement.
US media reported Saturday that a firefight had taken place between Afghan and American soldiers in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province earlier in the day, leading to fatalities on both sides.
The US military described the Saturday incident in a separate statement, saying “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”.
Citing an Afghan Defence Ministry official, US media reported Sunday that the shooter was not a Taliban infiltrator but an Afghan soldier who had argued with the US forces before opening fire.
Six US service members have been killed in Afghanistan since the start of 2020.
The incident came days after US President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address that the US military was making progress in Afghanistan and peace talks with the Taliban militant group were underway.
Peace talks between the United States and the Taliban began last year but have been interrupted at least twice after Taliban attacks on US military personnel in September and December of last year.
The US maintains roughly 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, which mostly provide training missions to local Afghan forces while conducting counterterrorism operations.
The war in Afghanistan is the longest one in US history. The death toll of US service members has surpassed 2,400 since the country invaded Afghanistan in 2001.