Two U.S. service members were killed after taking fire in Afghanistan, the NATO says.
They were part of a group of military personnel working to assist Afghan partners in an attack on the Taliban, NATO said in a statement. Two other U.S. service members were wounded in the attack. The military has not released any of the service members’ identities.
“Local officials later said they were investigating claims that civilians also were killed in the fighting, possibly in a retaliatory airstrike,” The Associated Press reports.
NATO and the Pentagon have not responded to questions about civilian casualties, the AP says.
“The attack was in the Kunduz district, where the Taliban and Afghan forces continue heavy fighting, and where some areas, including the capital city, have been briefly taken over by insurgents,” Teri Schultz reports for NPR. “NATO says the Americans were part of a ‘train, advise and assist’ mission to help Afghan forces clear a Taliban position.
“The U.S. and NATO handed back primary security control to the Afghan government in 2014,” Schultz says. “General Nicholson says despite the tragic events, the international mission remains ‘steadfast’ in its commitment to help Afghan security forces defend their country.”
At least four other U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan this year, the AP notes — two in October, one in August and one in January. An American civilian was also killed in October.
“U.S. military casualties in Afghanistan are relatively rare,” NPR’s Philip Reeves notes “whereas more than 5,500 Afghan police and troops were killed from the start of this year through to mid-August.”