Afghan official: ‘Direct fire’ on forces
kabul — U.S. and Afghan military personnel came under fire in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, an Afghan official said. There were no immediate details from U.S. officials on possible casualties or the cause of the firefight.
A statement from U.S. military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said the Afghan and U.S. forces were “engaged by direct fire.” He made no reference to casualties in the clash in Nangahar province, east of Kabul along the border with Pakistan.
“We are assessing the situation and will provide further updates as they become available,” Leggett added.
Mohammad Ajmal Omar, a member of Nangahar’s provincial council, described the shootout as a possible insider attack. Omar, who was briefed on the incident, said there appeared to be casualties among U.S. and Afghan personnel.
Insider attacks have struck both Afghan and U.S. forces in the past. The Taliban and factions linked to the Islamic State also have footholds in the area.
A second Afghan official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter, said there was a clash between American and Afghan army forces in Sherzad district in Nangahar but gave no further details.
Last month, a roadside bomb attack in Kandahar province killed two American service members and left two injured. The Taliban via tweet claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack comes as formal peace talks between U.S. and Taliban negotiators remain hampered by the ongoing bloodshed. U.S. negotiators have demanded a reduction in violence before a deal can be signed.