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Afghan soldier opens fire on U.S. service members, wounding 3

A member of the U.S. military stands guard in July 2016 during a graduation ceremony for Afghan troops in Lashkar Gah, capital of Afghanistan's Helmand province. (Abdul Khaliq / Associated Press)
A member of the U.S. military stands guard in July 2016 during a graduation ceremony for Afghan troops in Lashkar Gah, capital of Afghanistan's Helmand province. (Abdul Khaliq / Associated Press)

Three American service members were wounded Sunday afternoon when an Afghan soldier opened fire on them at a base in the country's southern Helmand province, U.S. officials said.

Capt. William Salvin, a U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, said security forces on base killed the attacker to end the assault. 

"The U.S. soldiers are receiving medical treatment at this time, and we will release more information when available," he said.

The so-called “insider attack” happened around 1:30 p.m. local time at Camp Antonik in Washer District in Helmand.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the shooting involved a Taliban sympathizer, a personal dispute or a cultural misunderstanding.  

Since 2008, there have been 94 insider attacks in Afghanistan, with at least 150 foreign soldiers killed and 187 wounded, according to the Long War Journal blog.

The shooting comes as the Afghan government in Kabul has come under growing pressure from the Taliban and other armed insurgents despite 16 years of war.

The Pentagon has 8,400 troops deployed in Afghanistan to train and advise Afghan forces; most rarely participate in direct combat.

Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February that a "few thousand" more troops are needed to help train Afghanistan’s military and police forces as they battle Taliban insurgents, Islamic State militants and other militias.

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