(RFE/RL) — A member of an elite Afghan commando unit opened fire on U.S.-led coalition troops at an Afghan base in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif, wounding seven U.S. service personnel and at least one Afghan soldier, military officials say.
An Afghan Army spokesman on June 17 said the rogue soldier was killed in an ensuing shoot-out, the second so-called insider attack on U.S. forces in the past week.
On June 11, three U.S. soldiers were killed and one was wounded in an insider attack at a base in Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan.
According to NATO’s Resolute Support website, the June 17 attack took place at Camp Shaheen, the headquarters of the Afghan Army’s 209th corps.
A German-led group of international advisers is also based at Camp Shaheen. A spokeswoman for the German forces said that “according to what we know right now, no Germans were affected.”
A spokesman for the Taliban militant group praised the attack but did not claim responsibility.
The increase in insider attacks in recent months has worried coalition officials. It is not always clear if the attackers are rogue members of the Afghan forces or are infiltrators wearing Afghan Army uniforms.
Camp Shaheen was the site of a major attack by Taliban militants in April, killing more than 130 Afghan Army personnel.
So far this year, six U.S. troops have been killed by hostile fire in Afghanistan. Since 2001, more than 2,000 American troops have been killed in combat and noncombat roles in the country.
The latest attack comes at a time when the Pentagon is planning to send almost 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, hoping to break a stalemate in the 16-year war, the Associated Press reported, citing an unidentified official.
AP said the decision could be announced as early as the upcoming week.
The bulk of the extra forces will train and advise Afghan troops, the official said, while a smaller number would be assigned to counterterror operations against the Taliban and Islamic State (IS) extremists.
Asked about the report, a Pentagon spokesman said, “No decisions have been made.”
U.S.-led forces invaded Afghanistan at the end of 2001 to oust the Taliban government, which was accused of sheltering Al-Qaeda militants blamed for carrying out the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
Since peaking at a force of about 100,000 troops, some 8,400 U.S. service members remain in Afghanistan after most NATO forces pulled out in 2014. About 5,000 non-U.S. NATO forces are still in the country.
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