Seven US soldiers wounded by Afghan soldier

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.

On June 10, an Afghan army commando killed three USA soldiers and wounded another. That was one of the deadliest Taliban attacks on an Afghan army base to date.

There were no US fatalities.

If confirmed as an incident among joint forces, it would mark the second time in a week that members of allied Afghan troops opened fire on USA counterparts.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday he would present options on Afghanistan to President Donald Trump "very soon".

"A source told Al Jazeera that the attack happened at the end of a training exercise", he said.

Afghanistan's ministry of defense said it's investigating this latest incident.

American military commanders in Afghanistan have requested thousands of additional boots on the ground to boost the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troop presence in the country. "Two were killed when they entered (the compound)", an official said.

Besides the ANP, the headquarters in Paktia is also home to the ANP's Special Forces, the Public Order Police and the central command of the 303-Spin Zar regional police force for the southeastern parts of the country.

The spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack in a communique.

It comes as Washington is expected to announce an increase in the USA military deployment in the country to bolster Afghan forces who are struggling to contain the Taliban's nationwide offensive.

Six U.S. troops have been killed by hostile fire in Afghanistan so far in 2017. The gunman - an Afghan - had been shot and killed, the spokesman said. Sending more USA troops, he added, will "give more ammunition" for insurgents to attract recruits among young and jobless Afghans.

On the problem of insider attacks, Amarkhel said it is easy for anti-government sympathizers to "penetrate the ranks" of the security forces, because poor security and vetting make it hard to assess recruits.

  • Leroy Wright