BEIRUT, LEBANON (09:57 P.M.) – On Saturday at least seven US soldiers were injured, one Afghan injured and one killed in an insider attack carried out by a soldier training at the Afghan military base Camp Shaheen. The base serves as headquarter for the 209 Corps of the Afghan Military and is used for military instructions by NATO members engaged in the US initiated military mission dubbed Resolute Support.
So far the mission published a statement, confirming the attack but not mentioning further details. The base is located at the city Mazar-I-Sharif in Afghanistan’s northern Balkh province.
It was the second such attack in just one week, on June 11, three U.S. soldiers were killed and another one wounded by Afghan soldier at a base in Nangarhar province, east Afghanistan. The increase in losses, though only a minor addition to the total of 2.399 US soldiers killed since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, comes at a critical moment.
The US Defense Ministry, according to AP, has decided to once again send more troops to Afghanistan, as President Donald Trump authorized Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to independently decide about troop deployments, where- and whenever the ministry deems them appropriate.
The US are expected to announce the increase from now officially 8.400 soldiers on the ground to about 12.400 in the coming week.
During the now 16 year-long conflict the contingents of US soldiers varied heavily and peaked at 100 k between 2010 and 2011. But since 2008 the number of military contractors surpassed the number of US soldiers in Afghanistan and many forces on the ground are not accounted for in the official data as they are deemed to be temporary deployments only.
Despite this massive presence of US personnel the country has not stabilised, and the raging conflict has already had 70 k people killed. Recently even the Islamic State (IS) is growing a strong presence in Afghanistan and seized a the Tora Bora cave complex in the Nangarhar province from Al-Qaeda.
The complex not only gives the jihadist group an easily defendable stronghold but also opens enables them to reach out further into the region. According to Iranian analyst Mollazehi Pir-Mohammad cited by Sputnik News the cave system gives the group access to mountain paths leading to India and China.