Three US troops wounded in attack Taliban attack as Afghan election violence worsens
Three US service members were wounded Monday in what is being described as an "insider attack" in Kandahar province in Afghanistan, as increasing uncertainty grips the country in the run up to presidential elections this week.
According to Voice of America news, US military spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett said a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police fired on an American military convoy, leaving three service members with "non-life-threatening injuries".
The shooter was killed by return fire from Resolute Support soldiers, the colonel added.
The Taliban said it was responsible for the attack, VOA news reported, but said the troops were killed.
In a separate incident Sunday evenings, 40 civilians, including children, were killed in an airstrike on a wedding celebration in southern Helmand province.
Helmand's governor said 14 Taliban fighters and six foreigners "were killed in airstrikes conducted by the Afghan special forces", adding in a statement that authorities were investigating the claims of civilian casualties.
The defence ministry said it would share its results of the investigation into the deaths, which come less than a week after a drone killed at least nine civilians in Nangarhar province east of Kabul.
While the Afghan military does have a fledgling air force, most strikes are led or supported by Washington, the only member of the international coalition in Afghanistan that provides aerial support in the conflict.
|Ballot boxes are being sorted in preparation for presidential elections at the end of the week [Getty]|
The UN documented a sharp rise in civilian deaths from airstrikes last year, as Afghan and US forces intensified the aerial bombardment of Taliban and Islamic State group militants.
Earlier this month, a BBC investigation revealed an average of 74 people were killed every day in Afghanistan in August.
It reported 611 security incidents killing 2,307 people, noting most of the those killed were combatants, including US and Afghan security and military forces, as well as Taliban fighters.
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A peace deal between the US and the Taliban seemed likely before President Trump abruptly cancelled the peace talks a week ago.
The collapse of US-Taliban talks has raised fresh questions about how long Washington plans to keep troops on the ground.
Afghan security forces are further bracing themselves for even more violence with presidential elections due later this week. On Monday morning, an attack on an election rally by incumbent President Ashraf Ghani killed at least 24 people.
The Taliban have threatened to target the polls and many ordinary Afghanis are divided on whether or not to cast their ballots in an election fraught with danger.
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