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File photo of US soldiers. AP/Press Association Images

Afghan commando kills two American soldiers in 'insider attack'

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in the volatile district of Achin.

AN AFGHAN COMMANDO has killed two American soldiers and wounded two others during a joint operation in eastern Nangarhar province, an official said, in the latest so-called insider attack on international forces.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in the volatile district of Achin, a stronghold of Islamic State jihadists, saying it was carried out by an infiltrator.

“Today around noon an Afghan commando opened fire on US troops in Achin district, killing two American soldiers,” provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

“The (Afghan) soldier was also killed in the return fire.”

NATO forces in Kabul declined to immediately comment on the killings, saying only that they were aware of an incident in eastern Afghanistan.

“We will release more information when appropriate,” a spokesman for the US-led military coalition said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed on Twitter that four US soldiers were killed in the attack. The insurgents are known to exaggerate battlefield claims.

In mid-April, the US military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, hitting IS positions in Nangarhar. The deployment of the so-called Mother Of All Bombs killed dozens of jihadists but fighting in the area has continued.

American troops have partnered with Afghan soldiers in raids against IS Khorasan, claiming the local offshoot of the jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria is steadily losing ground in Afghanistan.

So-called “green-on-blue” attacks — when Afghan soldiers or police turn their guns on international troops — have been a major problem during NATO’s long years fighting alongside Afghan forces.

Western officials say most such attacks stem from personal grudges and cultural misunderstandings rather than insurgent plots.

The killings have bred fierce mistrust between local and foreign forces even as the rate of such incidents has dropped in recent years. NATO troops have adopted special security measures to try to counter the threat.

Three American troops were wounded in March when an Afghan soldier opened fire in southern Helmand province, in the first known insider attack on international forces this year.

Similar attacks have also plagued Afghan troops, depleting morale and causing mistrust within security ranks.

The Afghan conflict is the longest in American history. US-led NATO troops have been at war there since 2001, after the ousting of the Taliban regime for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

US troops in Afghanistan number about 8,400 today, and there are another 5,000 from NATO allies, who mainly serve in a training and advisory capacity.

© – AFP 2017

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Read: At least 64 people killed and 320 wounded as bomb blast rips through Afghan diplomatic quarter

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