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13 June 2017, 10:55 | Katrina Lee
A Taliban infiltrator in the Afghan army has shot two USA soldiers dead before he got killed in a return fire, Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial government in Nangarhar told Anadolu Agency.
The so-called "green-on-blue" attack on Saturday is the latest in a line of incidents where Afghan soldiers have turned their weapons on global forces they are working with.
The Pentagon said in a statement it was "aware of an incident in eastern Afghanistan". One U.S. soldier was wounded and has been evacuated for medical treatment.
Hoping to flush ISIS from its stronghold, American and Afghan forces launched Operation Hamza in early March. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of American heroes".
Members of the Afghan security forces, including the army and police, are often undisciplined, corrupt and/or have conflicting loyalties, which leaves these institutions vulnerable to infiltration by the Taliban and other militant groups.
The US soldiers killed or wounded are Army Rangers.
United States officials estimate that ISIS has 600 to 800 fighters in the country, mostly former members of other regional terror groups, including the Pakistani Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
Afghan and American officials are investigating the incident.
She adds that shootings like the one that occurred Saturday "are called insider attacks - or green on blue - with Afghans wearing green shooting Americans and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation soldiers".
Incidents of Afghan forces attacking coalition troops were major problem several years ago, but has died down with the addition of new security measures for the forces. Helmand for years was the centrepiece of the USA and British military intervention in Afghanistan - only for it to slip deeper into a quagmire of instability. The policemen were patrolling too close to a Taliban base when they came under attack, provincial spokesman Omar Zhwak told AFP.
On Saturday, the AP reported that Attahullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor in Nangarhar province, confirmed the deaths of two American soldiers.
There are 8,400 American troops in Afghanistan training, advising and assisting the Afghan military in its fight against the Taliban.
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