KABUL, Afghanistan (AP/WNCN) – American and Afghan military personnel were fired on while conducting an operation in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, the U.S. military said Saturday, and one official said there were U.S. casualties.
Several U.S. personnel were either injured or killed, but the exact number and other details were not provided, said the U.S. official, who agreed to discuss the incident only on condition of anonymity.
The New York Times reported that at least five U.S service members were killed during the shootout.
A U.S. military spokesman, Col. Sonny Leggett, said in a statement that both Afghan and U.S. personnel were “engaged by direct firing.”
“We are assessing the situation,” Leggett said, without providing any information on possible casualties or other details.
The Taliban and the Islamic State group affiliate both operate in eastern Nangarhar province. The incident comes as Washington seeks to find an end to Afghanistan’s 18-year war, America’s longest.
Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been meeting with Taliban representatives in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar in recent weeks. He’s seeking an agreement to reduce hostilities to get a peace deal signed that would start negotiations among Afghans on both sides of the conflict.
In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Donald Trump referenced the peace talks, saying U.S. soldiers were not meant to serve as “law enforcement agencies” for other nations.
“In Afghanistan, the determination and valor of our war fighters has allowed us to make tremendous progress, and peace talks are now underway, ” he said.
Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.
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