January 11, 2018 / 6:43 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. service member in Afghanistan wounded in possible insider attack

KABUL (Reuters) - The U.S. military in Afghanistan is investigating an incident in the eastern province of Nangarhar in which one of its forces was wounded in an apparent insider attack by members of a pro-government militia.

Capt. Tom Gresback, public affairs director at the NATO-led Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul confirmed there had been an “active ground engagement” in Achin district in which he said one U.S. service member had been wounded but none killed.

“We are looking into the details of engagement with our Afghan partners and will provide more information when appropriate,” he said in an emailed statement.

No comment was immediately available from provincial government officials.

Details of the incident remain unclear but a local member of parliament, Obaidullah Shinwari, said members of a pro-government militia had opened fire on U.S. forces, killing two Americans and an interpreter.

He said an air strike was then called in, killing 22 members of the militia force.

If confirmed as an insider attack, it would be the latest in a series against U.S. forces, including an incident in Achin district in June in which an Afghan commando opened fire, killing three U.S. personnel and wounding another

The incident occurred during a joint operation against fighters from Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K), the local one Nangarhar province, on the border with Pakistan.

“We continue to strategically push IS-K back from their fighting positions taking seven kilometers and clearing much of the Mohmand Valley, Nangarhar,” Gresback said.

U.S. Special Forces, cooperating with Afghan units, have been heavily engaged in Nangarhar, where Islamic State in Khorasan, the local affiliate of the radical movement, first appeared three years ago.

In the months between June and November last year, U.S. Special Forces carried out at least 420 ground operations and 214 air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan, according to a Pentagon report in December.

Reporting by Ahmad Sultan and James Mackenzie Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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