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US official: American casualties in Afghan military mission

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — American and Afghan military personnel were fired on while conducting an operation in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, the U.S. military said Saturday.

There were multiple American casualties, but the number and the extent of the injuries were not immediately known, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss information that has not been officially releas ed.

U.S. military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said in a statement that both Afghan and U.S. personnel were ’engaged by direct firing.”

“We are assessing the situation,” Leggett said, without saying whether there were any casualties.

There were no other details.

The Taliban and the Islamic State group affiliate both operate in eastern Nangarhar province. The incident comes as Washington seeks to find an end to Afghanistan’s 18-year war, America’s longest.

Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been meeting with Taliban representatives in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar in recent weeks. He’s seeking an agreement to reduce hostilities to get a peace deal signed that would start negotiations among Afghans on both sides of the conflict.

In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Donald Trump referenced the peace talks, saying U.S. soldiers were not meant to serve as “law enforcement agencies” for other nations.

“In Afghanistan, the determination and valor of our war fighters has allowed us to make tremendous progress, and peace talks are now underway, ” he said.

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Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

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