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Monday
Jun122017

Three US soldiers killed in insider attack in Afghanistan identified

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. military has identified the three Army soldiers killed by an Afghan soldier in an insider attack for which the Taliban claimed responsibility.

Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore, Maryland; Sgt. William M. Bays, 29 of Barstow, California; and Cpl. Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 of Youngsville, North Carolina were all from the 101st Airborne Division headquartered at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The three plus a fourth U.S. soldier who was wounded came under fire in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, on Saturday.

The Afghan soldier who conducted the attack was killed in return fire, according to Attaullah Khogyani, spokesperson for the governor of Nangarhar Province.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of our soldiers who were killed and wounded,” said Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, in a statement Monday. "We will always remember our fallen comrades and remain committed to the mission they carried out and for which they ultimately gave their lives.”

Insider or so-called "green-on-blue" attacks have been an ongoing threat to U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan, but the number has declined since 2012 due to new security procedures and better vetting of Afghan security forces.

The motivations for such attacks are sometimes unclear, with some resulting from personal conflicts while others may be due to the Taliban's infiltrating the Afghan military.

The Trump administration is currently reviewing the overall U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. The U.S. currently has 8,400 American troops in the country, but U.S. officials say the military has proposed sending an additional 2,000 to 4,000 troops. That number may ultimately depend on how many additional troops are committed by NATO partners.

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