The Slatest

Afghan Soldier Opens Fire on U.S. Troops, Kills Three Service Members

Afghan commando forces patrol in the Achin district of Nangarhar province on April 23, 2017.

AFP/Getty Images

Three U.S. soldiers were killed and another wounded in Afghanistan on Saturday when a member of the Afghan army opened fire on American troops. The shooting took place during a joint U.S.-Afghan operation in the Achin District, eastern Afghanistan, along the Pakistan border. The shooter was killed by other soldiers. A Taliban spokesman claimed the shooter was an infiltrator for the militant group. The shooting took place a few hours after an American airstrike in southern Helmand Province accidentally killed two Afghan policemen.

“A Mujahid [freedom fighter] infiltrator of the Islamic Emirate who had enrolled himself in the Kabul government’s army attacked American soldiers in Lata Band area of Achin district in Nangarhar province today in the afternoon,” according to a statement. “The American invaders were there to support their Afghan slaves.”

U.S. casualties in Afghanistan have been decreasing lately, but Achin has emerged as a particularly deadly point for U.S. troops this year. The three other U.S. soldiers killed in Achin earlier this year “make up the entirety of U.S. combat fatalities in Afghanistan in 2017,” according to the Washington Post.

This marked at least the second insider attack—known as a “green-on-blue” attack because of the NATO color-coding system—of the year. In March, an Afghan soldier wounded three Americans in Helmand province. Although once relatively common, “green-on-blue” attacks have decreased following stricter security measures and the sharp decline in foreign troops in the country. There have been more than 90 insider attacks in Afghanistan since 2008, killing at least 150 foreign soldiers and wounding 187, according to data by the Long War Journal blog cited by the Los Angeles Times.