WASHINGTON – The three United States troops shot Sunday in an apparent insider attack on an Afghan military base in Helmand province are in stable condition, the Defense Department said Monday.
The attack at Camp Antonik is under investigation, Defense Department spokesperson Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said, and right now “certainly looks like” an attack carried out by a member of the Afghan security forces on purpose, known as a “green-on-blue” attack.
“I’m happy to tell you that the three wounded in action in that are doing fine, none of those injuries are life threatening,” Davis said. “Clearly this is something that we’re going to look at very closely. Were very cognizant of the threats of insider attack and look very hard at our force protection measures to make sure we account for that.”
The three wounded troops are being treated in Germany.
The gunman, identified as an Afghan soldier by U.S. officials, was shot and killed by coalition security forces after he opened fire on the the U.S. troops. The identity of the shooter has not been revealed.
At least 15 U.S. personnel have been wounded in Afghanistan so far in 2017.
About 8,400 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, which is about 1,500 fewer when former President Barack Obama left office. About 5,000 other NATO forces are on the ground.
U.S. troops are engaged in a U.S.-only counter-terrorism mission that targets al Qaeda and ISIS-affiliated forces and a larger North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces, who took over combat operations in 2014.
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson, said last month that “a few thousand more” NATO troops are needed to break a stalemate in the 16-year conflict.
NATO troops have been in Afghanistan since the invasion following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The U.S.-led intervention toppled the Taliban government, which harbored al Qaeda, the architects of the attacks. Nearly 2,400 U.S. troops have been killed in combat there since.