Entries in U.S. Soldiers (23)


Suicide Attack Kills Three NATO Troops in Afghanistan

ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) – Another suicide attack in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of three more NATO troops Monday. The attack comes just a day after the 2,000th American casualty of the war in Afghanistan.

The insurgent crashed a motorcycle equipped with IEDs into a U.S. military convoy traveling in the eastern province of Khoost. According to local officials, three American ISAF soldiers and 11 civilians, including an ISAF-contracted translator, were killed in the attack. Another 50 or so were injured. 

The Taliban has claimed responsibility.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two-Thousandth US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

Afghanistan iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) – Another somber milestone for the United States Military, as the 2,000th American soldier was killed in Afghanistan Saturday. According to the Los Angeles Times, a U.N. civilian contractor was also killed in what’s being described as an inside attack by a member of the Afghan security force. Three Afghan soldiers were also killed and four were wounded.

The attack, the Times reports, took place at a checkpoint in Wardak province. Though a local police chief describes the shootout as a misunderstanding, NATO issued a statement saying it suspects the killings were the result of an inside attack, and that a NATO-Afghan force investigation is already underway.

According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 50 coalition soldiers have been killed by insider attacks in 2012, and 15-percent of all NATO deaths in Afghanistan are caused inside shootings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


No Criminal Charges for US Soldiers in Koran Burning

February 2012: Pakistani Islamists set fire to the US flag during a protest over the burning of the Koran at a US-run military base in Afghanistan. S.S. MIRZA/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Six Army soldiers have received administrative non-judicial punishments for their role in the inadvertent burning of Korans in Afghanistan, meaning they will not face criminal charges for an incident that set off deadly protests in Afghanistan in January.

Similar punishments were handed down earlier Monday to three Marines involved in an inflammatory video posted on the Internet in January that showed them urinating on the corpses of several Taliban fighters. Additional punishments are expected to be announced in the future against other Marines involved in that incident.

At the time, top Pentagon officials expressed concern that the incidents, separated by just weeks, could set off a backlash against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Violent street protests followed the Koran burning in February and two U.S. Army soldiers were shot at their desks in the Afghan Interior Ministry in an attack by an Afghan soldier, which officials said was motivated by the burning.

A defense official told ABC News the six soldiers being disciplined for the burning include four officers and two enlisted soldiers -- a warrant officer is among the four officers. A Navy sailor was also investigated for his alleged role, but the admiral who reviewed his case determined he was not guilty and that no further disciplinary action was warranted.

The Army did not specify exactly how the soldiers had been punished, but generally non-judicial administrative punishments can include, among other things, a reprimand, reductions in rank, forfeiting pay, extra duties or being restricted to a military base. The punishments remain on a service member's permanent record and can prevent further promotions.

U.S. Central Command posted a redacted copy of the full investigation into the incident on its website.

The Korans and other religious materials had been taken from the Parwan Detention Facility and were slated for incineration in a burn pit at Bagram Air Field. Officials at the detention facility suspected that detainees were using the religious texts to pass along messages to each other.

The report indicates that possibly as many as 100 Korans were consumed in the fire. Nearly 500 Korans and 1,123 other religious books were recovered and inventoried during the investigation.

Shortly after the incident, Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, quickly released a written apology and a video statement. President Obama apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the incident.

In an interview this past March with ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Allen reiterated that although the U.S. was investigating the incident, he did not believe the burning was intentional.

"I don't think for a second that anyone intended to defame the religious publications or the Koran or anyone sought to desecrate the faith," he said. "I don't believe that for a second."

He added, "You fix things that are broken and you hold people accountable....That's why you do investigations and we're headed in that direction."

The Army announced the administrative punishments in a statement, saying, "We take these incidents seriously."

It said the Army had taken "immediate corrective action and implemented many of the investigation's recommendations along with re-emphasizing proper handling of religious materials to all soldiers during pre-deployment training in order to minimize the potential for reoccurrence."

In the immediate aftermath of the incident Allen also ordered cultural and religious sensitivity training for troops from the 50 NATO countries serving in Afghanistan before and after they deploy there.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US and Afghanistan Differ on Reasons for 'Insider' Attacks

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The Pentagon doesn't know what to make of allegations by Afghan officials that foreign intelligence services are primarily responsible for a recent spike in "insider" attacks that left 10 U.S. troops dead at the hands of Afghan security forces over a two-week period.

Overall, there have been 40 NATO troops killed in these assaults this year that were initially blamed on fatigue and stress affecting Afghan soldiers and police.

Gen. John Allen, commander of all coalition forces in Afghanistan, acknowledged on Thursday that the Taliban might have more of a role in "insider" attacks than previously believed.

Allen said that in addition to the 10 percent of Taliban infiltrators thought to have committed the killings, another 15 percent could possibly be pinned on Afghan forces influenced by the Taliban either directly or through other people.

In spite of the problem, Allen says it won't waylay plans to hand over all security responsibilities to the Afghans by 2014, saying, "The closer the relationship with them -- indeed the more we can foster a relationship of brotherhood -- the more secure we are."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Senior US Officer Killed by Suicide Bomber in Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- A senior U.S. officer and two majors were killed in a suicide bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan Wednesday.

The suicide bomber struck as a group of U.S. military and civilian officials from the Army's 4th brigade, 4th Infantry Division were in Sarkowi in Kunar Province.  The suicide attacker detonated an explosive vest near the group.

Killed in the attack were Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, 45, of Laramie, Wyo., the brigade's senior enlisted soldier.  As a command sergeant major, Griffin was one of the brigade's senior leaders and provided leadership and guidance to the 4,000-man brigade.

Also killed in the blast were Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, 35, of West Point, N.Y., and Air Force Major Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga.  Gray was an air liaison officer and flight commander attached to the brigade.

The brigade is tasked with providing security in three provinces that border Pakistan.  Based in Fort Carson, Colo., the brigade arrived in Afghanistan this past April.

The explosion also killed American USAID Foreign Service Officer Ragaei Abdelfattah.  Another American foreign service officer and an Afghan civilian were injured in the attack.

In a statement released Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Abdelfattah's work in eastern Afghanistan over the last year as "critical to our efforts to support Afghanistan's political, economic and security transitions and was an example of the highest standards of service."  She said he was so committed to his mission that he had volunteered to serve a second year-long tour in Afghanistan.

Note: ABC News incorrectly reported earlier that the commander of the 4th Brigade was seriously wounded in the suicide bombing.  The commander was not injured.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Six US Troops Killed in Eastern Afghanistan Blast

U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Six American troops were killed in a roadside blast Sunday in eastern Afghanistan, a U.S. official told ABC News.  Details about the deadly incident remain vague.

Earlier on Sunday, a press release by NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said six ISAF servicemembers “died following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan today.”

The nationalities of the victims were not identified because “it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities,” the statement said.

A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News that the six killed in Sunday’s attack were Americans, but did not have specific details about the incident.

Roadside bombings have been the main cause of casualties for U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan, but Afghan civilians have also suffered at the hands of IEDs.

Two roadside bombs went off earlier Sunday in Kandahar Province, killing at least 14 civilians, including women and children.

Most of the roadside bombs used in Afghanistan are made with the fertilizer ammonium nitrate.  Efforts to reduce the smuggling of that fertilizer from Pakistan have proven mixed.

Top military leaders have said that eastern Afghanistan will be the focus of security efforts over the next two years as NATO troops prepare to leave by the end of 2014.  Most of the NATO troops operating in eastern Afghanistan are American.

By the middle of next year, Afghan Security Forces will be in the lead for security throughout Afghanistan, with U.S. troops in a combat support role.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Photos Appear to Show US Soldiers Posing with Suicide Bombers

ISAF/Pfc. Cameron Boyd(NEW YORK) -- The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan along with the U.S. embassy there have strongly condemned photos released Thursday by The Los Angeles Times that appear to show American soldiers in Afghanistan posing with the bodies of suicide bombers.

According to the Times, the photos were taken in 2010 and involved paratroopers with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.  The newspaper obtained the photos from one of the division's soldiers.

In a statement Thursday, Gen. John Allen, head of the International Security Assistance Force, said, "The actions of the individuals photographed do not represent the policies of ISAF or the U.S. Army.  This behavior and these images are entirely inconsistent with the values of ISAF and all service members of the fifty ISAF countries serving in Afghanistan."

Allen said the incident is being "thoroughly investigated by U.S. national authorities."

"We will collaborate with Afghan authorities and carefully examine the facts and circumstances shown in these photos.  As part of this process, we will determine responsibility and accountability of those involved," he added.

An Army spokeswoman told the Times that most of the soldiers pictured have been identified.

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, also issued a statement on Thursday, calling the actions "morally repugnant" and saying they "dishonor the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians who have served with distinction in Afghanistan, and do not represent the core values of the United States or our military."

The incident comes as relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan have been strained by recent events, including the inadvertent burning of Qurans at Bagram Air Field in February and the shooting rampage allegedly at the hands of a U.S. Army sergeant that left 17 Afghan civilians dead in March.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Afghan Soldier Opens Fire at US Troops in Kabul; No Injures Reported

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- An Afghan soldier opened fire on American forces in Afghanistan Friday, one day after a teacher and another member of the Afghan National Army turned their guns on U.S. troops, killing two.

The incident took place at a base near Kabul.  Shots were fired as a U.S. helicopter was trying to land there.

It's unclear if the Afghan soldier dropped the weapon, if it went off by accident or if the shooting was in fact intentional.  The shooter has been taken into custody and the Ministry of Defence is investigating the matter.

Although NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command said no one was injured in Friday's attack, the incident highlights the danger U.S. troops are facing in Afghanistan.

Six American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in three separate incidents since the U.S. military admitted to burning the Muslim holy book, the Koran, sparking nationwide protests and riots.  And so far this year, more than one in six of the NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been killed by their Afghan partners.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


At Least 10 US Soldiers Injured in Afghan Grenade Attack

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(KUNDUZ, Afghanistan) -- At least 10 American soldiers were injured Sunday in a grenade attack during a protest on a military base in northern Afghanistan, according to NATO officials.

The grenade was thrown during a Kunduz City protest--one of two significant rallies that rattled the region Sunday.

Protesters gathered outside Kunduz City, where they attempted to storm the United Nations compound on Saturday. One demonstrator was killed when police fired into the crowd. A grenade was then thrown into a military base, injuring 10 American soldiers.

The second protest took place in nearby Samangan, where demonstrators blocked the main road to Kabul for six hours. At least one person was killed, according to reports.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Afghan Officials Search for Killer of US Officers in Kabul

ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Afghan authorities are searching for Abdul Saboor, a 25-year-old Afghan man who is suspected of shooting and killing two U.S. officers in Kabul on Saturday.

Saboor is believed to have walked into a secure room used by two American military advisers and shot both in the head. He then escaped from the ministry and remains at large.

Afghan officials describe Saboor as a man who never suggested any radical tendencies, leading them to assume that he was inspired by the accidental burning of Qurans by U.S. troops last Tuesday.

Saboor is a driver for an Afghan officer in the Ministry of Interior's operations unit—the same unit where the American advisors worked, according to Afghan officials.

He likely knew the two Americans, but it's not clear if he ever interacted with them.

Saboor had gone through all the checks that gave him permission to carry a gun inside the ministry, Afghan officials said.

Afghan officials have found no evidence that he has ties to insurgent groups, but have discovered that he took part in religious studies in a madrassa in Pakistan, leading some to fear he may have some kind of past connection to members of the Taliban.

Before the shooting, some of Saboor's colleagues saw him in the hallways and said he ignored their greetings and acted strangely, the Afghan officials said.

In total, more than 30 people have died and 100 have been wounded in the protests since the Qurans were burned, including four U.S. soldiers killed by Afghans.

While these Afghan on American killings are rare, they are growing.

On Saturday, Gen. John Allen, commander of the ISAF, responded to the attack by pulling all foreign advisers out of Afghan ministries. There are hundreds of advisers from 49 coalition countries assigned to various ministries.

"I condemn today's attack at the Afghan Ministry of Interior that killed two of our coalition officers, and my thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the brave individuals lost today," Allen said Saturday. "We are investigating the crime and will pursue all leads to find the person responsible for this attack. The perpetrator of this attack is a coward whose actions will not go unanswered."

Since Tuesday the country has been roiled by protests over the American military's burning of religious texts, including Qurans. NATO is investigating the burning.

A public apology by President Obama on Thursday has failed to stop the unrest.

Just hours after the attack at the Interior Ministry Saturday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office released a message from the nation's top religious council demanding that the U.S. "guarantee" no further desecration of Qurans.

On Sunday, at least two people were killed in protests.

Outside of Kunduz City, where protesters tried to storm the UN compound Saturday, one person was killed when police fired into a crowd.

In that same protest, somebody threw a grenade into a military base, injuring two American soldiers, according to Afghan officials.

In nearby Samangan, another group of protesters blocked the main road to Kabul for six hours. One person was killed there.

On Thursday, two U.S. soldiers were gunned down by a member of the Afghan Army at a base in eastern Afghanistan as civilians protested the Quran burnings outside the base.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio