Two U.S. service members were killed and six more wounded during an attack on a joint operation between American and Afghan forces in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Early indications suggest that the two service members were killed in what’s known as a green-on-blue attack, in which Afghan forces or infiltrators turn their weapons on U.S. and coalition troops.
Current reports indicate an individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined U.S. and Afghan forces with a machine gun, Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said.
It remains unknown if the gunman was actually an Afghan soldier or a person who had stolen a military uniform because the motive remains unclear and the shooter “was not one of the soldiers on the patrol, according to Fox News.
Leggett said the incident is under investigation.
On Sunday, Feb. 9, the Department of Defense identified the two soldiers who died from wounds sustained during combat operations as Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas, and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, the Defense Department said in a statement.
The six wounded service members were receiving medical treatment at a U.S. facility, CNN reported.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense also said on Sunday that one Afghan soldier was also killed in the attack. The U.S. military has not confirmed the Afghan death.
“As a result, unfortunately, one brave ANA member was martyred and three brave members injured, and two brave Resolute support members lost their lives and six brave members were injured,” the Afghan Ministry of Defense said.
The ministry added that attacks such as these fail to have negative effects on the friendship & spirit of cooperation between Afghan forces and the United States.
“We will continue our fight against terrorism together,” the ministry said.
There are currently about 12,000 to 13,000 U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan fighting terrorist groups and assisting local forces in the country.
President Donald Trump wants to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the 2020 election, according to NBC News. Currently, The Trump administration was poised to withdraw approximately 4,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan.