Two U.S. Special Forces soldiers were killed Saturday in Afghanistan after a man in the uniform of Afghanistan’s army opened fire on U.S. troops.
Six Americans were wounded in the attack, which took place in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. The attacker was killed.
The attack took place during a joint Afghan-U.S. operation, Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said, according to NBC News.
The Pentagon identified the slain servicemen as Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28.
Gutierrez was from San Antonio, Texas. Rodriguez was from Las Cruces, New Mexico.
They had been part of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
Guttierez was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, ABC News reported. He enlisted in the Army in 2009, as did Rodriguez.
Yesterday we lost two American heroes.
The soldiers, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group were:
?? SFC Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, of San Antonio, Texas
?? SFC Antonio Rey Rodriguez, of Las Cruces, Nex Mexico.
Both were just 28.
Pray for them.
Pray for their families pic.twitter.com/6qZIbYWYHZ
— Sean Parnell (@SeanParnellUSA) February 9, 2020
The New York Post reported that the individual involved had argued with U.S. forces before the attack.
It quoted a military official as calling it an “insider attack,” meaning one in which the shooter was allied with U.S. forces.
According to Reuters, Sohrab Qaderi, identified as a provincial council member in Nangarhar, said the attacker was an Islamist fighter but did not say to which group the attacker belonged.
Fox News reported that the individual who shot the Americans “was not one of the soldiers on the patrol,” citing what it called “a U.S. defense official.”
The source told Fox News that the Islamic State and Taliban are both under suspicion of being connected to the attack.
The Washington Post, however, quoted several sources as saying the attacker was, in fact, an Afghan soldier.
One Afghan soldier was reported killed in the attack.
Leggett’s statement gave few details about the incident.
“Upon completing a key-leader engagement at the district center, current reports indicate an individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined U.S. and Afghan force with a machine gun,” the spokesman said, according to Newsweek.
“We are still collecting information and the cause or motive behind the attack is unknown at this time,” Leggett said. “The incident is under investigation.”
The Afghan Defense ministry issued a statement saying, “Attacks such as this by our enemies fail to have negative effects on the friendship and spirit of cooperation and between the ANDSF and U.S Military forces. We will continue our fight against terrorism together.”
“The leadership of the Ministry of Defense extends condolences to the families and friends of all the brave martyred force members and prays for the quick recovery of the injured members of the forces,” the statement continued.
The U.S. currently has about 12,000 troops in Afghanistan.
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