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DoD Identifies 3 Soldiers Killed In Green-On-Blue Attack In Afghanistan
On Monday, the Department of Defense released the names of those killed in a June 10 insider attack in Peka Valley, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan: Army Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore, Maryland; Army Sgt. William M. Bays, 29 of Barstow, California; and Army Cpl. Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 of Youngsville, North Carolina.
The soldiers were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Company D, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The three troops died of gunshots wounds which the Taliban later claimed responsibility for. Afghan officials identified the shooter as an Afghan commando, who turned on the U.S. troops and opened fire. The shooter was killed by return fire. A fourth U.S. soldier was also wounded and transported out of Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of our Soldiers who were killed and wounded," Gen. John W. Nicholson, Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan said in a statement. "We will always remember our fallen comrades and remain committed to the mission they carried out and for which they ultimately gave their lives."
In March, three U.S. troops in Helmand province were wounded when an Afghan soldier opened fire on them, and since 2008 there have been as many as 95 insider attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Though the insider attack was reportedly carried out by the Taliban, the service members killed were involved in operations against ISIS-K in Nangarhar province, a volatile region. Earlier today a convoy carrying Afghan and U.S. military personnel came under attack in the province.
"We can confirm that a convoy was struck by a roadside bomb and attacked with small arms fire in Nangarhar province,” U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement Monday. “The convoy returned fire in self-defense and there were no U.S. casualties."
Three other U.S. troops have been killed while involved in operations against the Islamic State in Afghanistan this year, and according to the New York Times, all six combat deaths in 2017 have been from those involved in operations against ISIS-K.
An offshoot of the Islamic State, ISIS-K, has established a foothold in Nangarhar province’s Achin District, where the U.S. military dropped the GBU-43/B, or the “Mother of All Bombs,” just days after the first U.S. service member was killed in April.
(Reuters) - In the summer of 2004, U.S. soldier Greg Walker drove to a checkpoint just outside of Baghdad's Green Zone with his Kurdish bodyguard, Azaz. When he stepped out of his SUV, three Iraqi guards turned him around at gunpoint.
As he walked back to the vehicle, he heard an AK-47 being racked and a hail of cursing in Arabic and Kurdish. He turned to see Azaz facing off with the Iraqis.
"Let us through or I'll kill you all," Walker recalled his Kurdish bodyguard telling the Iraqi soldiers, who he described as "terrified."
He thought to himself: "This is the kind of ally and friend I want."
The US military quietly pulled 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan over the past year without a peace deal
The U.S. military has pulled about 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over the past year, the top U.S. and coalition military commander said Monday.
"As we work in Afghanistan with our partners, we're always looking to optimize the force," Army Gen. Austin Miller said at a news conference in Kabul. "Unbeknownst to the public, as part of our optimization … we reduced our authorized strength by 2,000 here."
"I'm confident that we have the right capabilities to: 1. Reach our objectives as well as continue train, advise, and assist throughout the country," Miller continued.
The New York Times was first to report that the U.S. military had reduced its troop strength in Afghanistan even though peace talks with the Taliban are on hiatus. The number of troops in the country has gone from about 15,000 to 13,000, a U.S. official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.
Separately, the U.S. military is considering drawing down further to 8,600 troops in Afghanistan as part of a broader political agreement, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Oct. 19.
"We've always said, that it'll be conditions based, but we're confident that we can go down to 8,600 without affecting our [counterterrorism] operations, if you will," Esper said while enroute to Afghanistan.
So far, no order has been given to draw down to 8,600 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. official said.
After President Donald Trump cancelled peace talks with the Taliban, which had been expected to take place at Camp David around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. military has increased both air and ground attacks.
In September, U.S. military aircraft dropped more ordnance in Afghanistan than they have since October 2010, according to Air Force statistics.
However, the president has also repeatedly vowed to bring U.S. troops home from the post 9/11 wars. Most recently, he approved withdrawing most U.S. troops from Syria.
On Monday, Esper said the situations in Syria and Afghanistan are very different, so the Afghans and other U.S. allies "should not misinterpret our actions in the recent week or so with regard to Syria."
DOHUK, Iraq/KABUL (Reuters) - The Pentagon is considering keeping some U.S. troops near oilfields in northeastern Syria alongside Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to help deny oil to Islamic State militants, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday.
U.S. troops are crossing into Iraq as part of a broader withdrawal from Syria ordered by President Donald Trump, a decision that allowed Turkey to launch an offensive against the SDF which for years was a U.S. ally battling Islamic State.