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US service member killed in apparent insider attack in Afghanistan

Posted: 8:21 AM, Nov 03, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-03 15:46:12Z

One U.S. service member was killed and another was wounded Saturday in the Afghan capital of Kabul in what the U.S.-backed coalition called an apparent insider attack.

Reports indicated the attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and that the attacker was immediately killed by other Afghan forces, the NATO-led Resolute Support coalition said.

The service members were evacuated to Bagram Airfield. The wounded service member is undergoing medical treatment and is in stable condition, authorities said.

Neither service member has been identified, and no further details have been released. The attack is under investigation.

 

It comes a little more than two weeks after US Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley, who oversees the NATO military advisory mission in southern Afghanistan, was wounded in an insider attack in Kandahar province. The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Gen. Scott Miller, was also present but escaped uninjured.

Two Afghan officials, including the southern province's powerful police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq Achakzai, were killed. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

A report released this week by the U.S. government's own ombudsman of the war set out how the Taliban have strengthened their grip in Afghanistan over the past three years, now controlling more territory than at any time since 2001.

The Afghan government currently controls or influences 55.5 percent of the country's districts, marking the lowest level recorded since the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction began tracking district control in November 2015, the report said.

The official figures offer a glimpse into the Afghan army's loosening grip in the face of a determined, sustained Taliban insurgency and a bleak outlook for America's involvement in the war -- now in its 17th year.

Meanwhile, civilian deaths in Afghanistan keep rising. An escalation in insurgent attacks and fighting between the Taliban and government forces has helped drive the number of civilian deaths this year to its highest point on record, according to UN figures released last month.

Total civilian deaths across Afghanistan -- due to various violent attacks -- stood at 2,798 for the first nine months of 2018, slightly up from the same period last year, according to the United Nations.