Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

The Pentagon plans to send almost 4000 additional troops to Afghanistan

The Pentagon plans to send almost 4000 additional troops to Afghanistan

Seven US soldiers were wounded Saturday in an insider attack at a military base by an Afghan soldier described as a "patriot" by the Taliban.

The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission said in a statement that no USA soldier died in the assault, while the attacker was killed in a retaliatory fire.

One Afghan soldier was killed, he said.

It is unclear whether the Afghan soldier killed was the attacker.

Insurgent groups like the Taliban and Islamic State have launched the string of attacks across Afghanistan in recent weeks.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to media.

The military coalition had earlier said that one Afghan soldier had been killed and another wounded in the incident.

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The Saturday shooting was one of several recent insider attacks that are raising new concerns about poor vetting and conflicting loyalties, even among the elite Afghan special operations forces that the US military sees as crucial to boosting the war effort.

Saturday's incident comes just days after President Donald Trump delegated authority to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to set US troop levels in Afghanistan, opening the door for a possible of influx of forces that could number in the thousands. Western officials say most insider attacks stem from personal grudges and cultural misunderstandings rather than insurgent plots.

Muhammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said that the attacker was shot dead by foreign forces, and stressed that an investigation into the incident had been opened. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack.

The attacks come as U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to bolster Washington's presence in Afghanistan to stem the violence and the Taliban's military advances, particularly in rural areas of the country, and largely in the south and the east.

United States troops in Afghanistan now number about 8,400, with another 5,000 from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, who mainly serve in a training and advisory capacity.

Although Trump has delegated authority for US troop numbers in Afghanistan, the responsibility for America's wars and the men and women who fight in them rests on his shoulders. The others fought a battle with Afghan special forces that had responded to the attack. The gunman was eventually killed later in the afternoon, he said.

The Pentagon is set to announce it is sending another 4,000 USA troops to the country to counter the insurgents. The attackers were disguised in Afghan army uniforms.

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