An American military officer has been killed and two others wounded in southern Afghanistan in a suspected case of insider attack, the US-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM) has announced.
The apparent so-called green-on-blue or insider attack was carried out Saturday in Uruzgan province by a member of the Afghan security force that reportedly acted alone, according to an RSM statement and local news outlets.
The injured soldiers are reported to the be in stable condition by the NATO military training mission led by US Commander Gen. John Nicholson Jr. However, the fate of the assailant was not immediately clear.
The identity of the victims were withheld pending the notification of their relatives, according to RSM, which is purportedly an “advice and assist mission” consisting of more than 13,000 troops, mostly from the US and NATO countries.
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yosuf Ahmadi, also confirmed the incident in a media statement, saying that the group “appreciated” the attack.
US military authorities further stated that the deadly incident is now under investigation and that the name of the dead soldier would be released 24 hours after family notification has taken place in keeping with Defense Department policy.
According to the US-based military.com, Saturday’s casualty was the fourth so far this year of American troops being killed in hostile incidents in Afghanistan.
To date, the report added, 49 American troops have been killed in Afghanistan since Jan. 1 2015, when operations in the country officially transitioned from combat operations to a mission of support and advisory assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
The insider attacks, in which a member of the ANSF attacks US service members, have taken place every year since 2008. The Afghan province that has seen the highest number of attacks is Helmand, south of the country and a major Taliban stronghold.
According to the report, a small contingent of US Marines known as Task Force Southwest is currently deployed to Helmand in what the Pentagon describes as a bid to support the Afghan security forces.
The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 with the express aim of toppling the Taliban. Now, some 17 years on, the militant group rules supreme in the war-torn country and the US has shown interest more than ever in negotiating with the militants.