U.S. said to fatally bomb Afghan militia

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

One-third of the 21 American soldiers killed in combat in 2017 in Afghanistan died in Nangarhar, making it the deadliest province for the US military.

Details are still not entirely clear on what happened, but the U.S. troops were in an "active ground engagement" in the Achin District of Nangarhar, an area that has one of the biggest numbers of ISIS fighters in Afghanistan. An affiliate of the Islamic State group has been active there.

U.S. Navy Capt. Tom Gresback says the insurgents baited the team, inviting an Afghan militia leader, a U.S. service member and an interpreter to a security shura meeting on Thursday.

Achin district administrative chief Ismail Shinwari confirmed the incident but did not elaborate further saying still there is no information available regarding the cause of the incident and possible casualties.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed the insurgent group was behind the attack.

Nato's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan confirmed there had been an airstrike, but said it had targeted insurgents after they opened fire on an Afghan militia leader, a USA soldier and an interpreter.

Gresback said they were investigating the incident. He said the insider attack left 16 Afghan and USA forces dead.

Western officials say most insider attacks stem from personal grudges and cultural misunderstandings rather than insurgent plots.

USA and Afghan forces have been carrying out ground and air operations against IS fighters in Nangarhar province bordering Pakistan. Eight U.S. service members have been killed in the province over the past nine months.

A New Year's Day attack on a military patrol in Achin killed one US soldier.