A shootout between Afghan and American soldiers during joint operations in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday resulted in fatalities on both sides, Afghan and American officials said.
Details of the incident, in Nangarhar Province where American Special Forces were helping Afghan commandos and the Afghan Army clear an area threatened by the Taliban, were scarce. It was not clear whether the firefight was the work of Taliban infiltrators, a major concern in the past, or the result of an argument between allied forces that turned deadly.
Two Afghan officials said five or six American soldiers and six Afghan soldiers were killed. A United States military official said there were at least six American casualties and confirmed that they included fatalities but did not say how many.
Local residents reported military helicopters flying over the area.
The American military command in Afghanistan confirmed that a joint American and Afghan force had come under “direct fire” in Nangarhar without providing details.
“We are assessing the situation and will provide further updates as they become available,” said Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the American forces in Afghanistan.
Both the Taliban as well as the Islamic State branch in Afghanistan have had a foothold in Nangarhar Province. In Sherzad district, where the shootout took place, the joint operation had pushed the Taliban from around the main highway and was continuing to clear villages.
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SOURCE: The New York Times, Mujib Mashal