Several US soldiers were wounded on Saturday after being shot by an Afghan soldier at a base in northern Afghanistan on Saturday, the third “insider” attack on US troops stationed in the country this year, and the second on one week. Initially conflicting reports emerged about the number of casualties in the attack, with Afghan officials telling Reuters that four US troops had been killed; that number has since been revised.
A spokesman for the U.S. military command in Kabul denied earlier comments by an Afghan official that Americans had been killed, but confirmed that an unspecified number of soldiers had been wounded at Camp Shaheen, the headquarters of the Afghan army's 209th Corps in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
At least one Afghan soldier was killed and another wounded, the U.S. official said. Abdul Qahar Araam, spokesman for the Afghan army's 209th Corps, had announced that an Afghan soldier shot and killed four U.S. troops inside the base.
The German military heads the multinational advising mission based in Mazar-i-Sharif. A spokeswoman for the German forces at the joint mission command in Potsdam said "according to what we know right now, no Germans were affected".
On June 11, three U.S. soldiers were killed and a fourth wounded when an Afghan soldier opened fire on them at a base in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.
As of yet, no group has taken credit for Saturday’s attack. The Taliban took credit for a similar attack that unfolded a week ago in Eastern Afghanistan that left three US troops dead and one wounded.
Following last week's attack, Vice President Mike Pence, speaking in Wisconsin on Saturday, offered his condolences to the victims’ relatives.
"On my way here I was informed that U.S. service members were killed and wounded in an attack in Afghanistan," Pence said. "The president and I have been briefed; the details of this attack will be forthcoming. But suffice it to say, when heroes fall, Americans grieve. And our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these American heroes."
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump announced that he would delegate near-total authority to the Pentagon to determine troop levels in the country. Yesterday, the Pentagon announced it would send 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan to support existing forces, and in hopes of "breaking a stalemate in a war that has now been passed on to a third U.S. President." The deployment will be the largest of American manpower under Donald Trump’s young presidency.
As we cautioned, "Trump, who barely spoke about Afghanistan as a candidate or president, concentrating instead on crushing the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, may be underestimating the potential risk he faces by sending more troops in harms way." Today's latest attack is a harbinger of what Trump faces as he sends even more troops into Afghanistan.