The American death toll in the country’s long-running military conflict in Afghanistan has reached 2,000 following the killing of a U.S. service member and an American NATO contractor at the hands of insiders in the Afghan forces. U.S. forces were locked into a firefight against their supposed Afghan army allies in the country’s Wardak province on Saturday, resulting in the death of three Afghan soldiers as well.
The fighting started when a mortar fired by insurgents hit a U.S. checkpoint, whose soldiers believed they were under attack by a nearby Afghan checkpoint. When the Americans attacked the Afghan checkpoint, the Afghan soldiers fired back, in what the Afghan Defense Ministry characterized as a “misunderstanding.”
“In a misunderstanding, shooting broke out between Afghan army and ISAF forces. As a result of the shooting, three army soldiers were killed, three other soldiers were wounded and a number of ISAF forces were killed and wounded,” read Afghan Defense Minister, General Zahir Azimi’s statement.
Afghan soldiers and policemen, or perhaps enemy forces posing in uniform, have been responsible for the death of 50 foreign troops this year, creating tension between coalition forces and the Afghan officers they’re partnered with. Afghan army and police forces have staged several attacks against American and NATO troops in recent months, undermining the allies’ goal of helping the Afghan government maintain control against surrounding rebels.
Allied troops have been responsible for training Afghan security forces as they prep for the departure of foreign over the next two years. However, those same just as many Afghan policemen and soldiers were gunned down in similar attacks, reflecting the amount of internal conflict within the country.
Though the lack of trust seems to be apparent, officials on both sides have sought to downplay the issues. October 7 will mark 11 years since the U.S. initially invaded Afghanistan in 2001.