WASHINGTON – A convoy carrying U.S. and Afghan military personnel was hit by a roadside bomb and came under small arms fire Monday in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province, according to the U.S. Defense Department.
The group returned fire at the attackers in self defense, according to a statement by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. The U.S. forces have been accused of killing three civilians, a man and his two sons, nearby when they opened fire, according to Reuters. No U.S. casualties were reported.
U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said that it had received no official allegations of civilian casualties resulting from the incident and that the incident is under investigation. “We take civilian casualties very seriously and all allegations are thoroughly investigated,” the command said.
Over the weekend, three U.S. soldiers serving in the U.S.-only counterterrorism mission Operation Freedom’s Sentinel were killed in the same region of Afghanistan in an apparent insider attack. Another U.S. soldier was wounded. The Taliban claimed the “green-on-blue” attack, perpetrated by an Afghan army commando.
The Defense Department released the names of the killed in the Saturday attack: Sgt. Eric Houck, 25, from Baltimore, Md.; Sgt. William Bays, 29, from Barstow, Calif.; and Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, 22, from Youngsville, N.C. The three were assigned to Fort Campbell, Ky.
All six of the U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan during 2017 have died in Nangarhar Province while fighting a regional branch of ISIS, known as ISIS-Khorasan, which has a stronghold in the area.