World

Afghan soldier killed after shooting, wounding 3 US troops

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — An Afghan soldier opened fire Sunday inside a base in the southern Helmand province, wounding three US soldiers before being shot dead.

Navy Captain Bill Salvin, a US military spokesman, said coalition forces killed the soldier ‘‘to end the attack,’’ but Colonel Mohammad Rasoul Zazai, an Afghan Army spokesman, said the soldier had made a mistake and had not fired deliberately.

Several US troops have been killed in Afghanistan in recent years in so-called insider attacks carried out by Afghan police or soldiers. In October, an Afghan man in a military uniform shot dead a US soldier and an American civilian contractor inside a military base in Kabul before being killed.

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Elsewhere in Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents attacked a district headquarters in the Kandahar province Sunday using a suicide car bomb, said Samim Khpolwak, a spokesman for the governor. He declined to say how many people were killed or wounded.

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A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information, said six police were killed and five others were wounded in the assault, which was claimed by the Taliban.

In the southern Zabul province, an army operation killed 13 Taliban and wounded 11 others, said General Sadiqullah Saberi. He said two Afghan soldiers were killed and three others were wounded by a roadside bomb during the operation.

Two Taliban commanders were killed in an apparent US drone strike Sunday in the Barmal district of the eastern Paktika province, said a spokesman for the provincial governor.

In the eastern Nangarhar province on Friday, a suicide bomber tried to kill a local religious affairs director outside a mosque after Friday prayers, but the official’s brother intervened, wrapping his arms around the bomber before he set off his payload, killing both of them, said Ajmal Omar, a member of the provincial council. He said the official was unharmed.

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Army General Tony Thomas, the head of the military’s Special Operations Command, has said that during a visit to military headquarters in Tampa, Fla., last month, President Trump made clear that he wants to emphasize counterterrorism missions by the military’s elite forces.

While the Pentagon may eventually send a few thousand more conventional troops to the fights in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, Thomas said at a recent Speical Operations conference that senior commanders are concerned that more conventional troops on the ground may lead to greater involvement in those countries.

During the peak of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 13,000 Special Operations forces were deployed on missions across the globe, but a large majority were assigned to those two countries. Now, more than half of the 8,600 elite troops overseas are posted outside the Middle East or South Asia, operating in 97 countries, according to the Special Operations Command.