The Pentagon is investigating “an apparent insider attack” in the Tarin Kowt district of Afghanistan’s Uruzgan Province on July 7 that killed two service members in U.S. Central Command and wounded two others.
The servicemembers were killed while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, according to a July 9 Pentagon report. The operation is the codename for the global war on terrorism, which began in October 2001.
The name of one U.S. servicemember killed in the recent attack has been released as Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California. Maciel was posthumously promoted to corporal and had served in Afghanistan since February.
The statement says that Maciel was an infantryman assigned to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, based at Fort Benning, Georgia; Task Force 1-28 Infantry is deployed in support of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade.
The incident took place just ahead of key talks between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pomeo and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Major shifts also took place in the war in Afghanistan just prior to the possible insider attack. In June, the Taliban accepted a three-day ceasefire in Afghanistan, which was extended through negotiations and also included the beginning of peace talks.
Pompeo commended Ghani on the event in a June 16 statement, and said “peace talks by necessity would include a discussion of the role of international actors and forces. The United States is prepared to support, facilitate and participate in these discussions.”
The ceasefire with the Taliban did not, however, include a ceasefire in U.S. counterterrorism operations against ISIS, al-Qaeda, or other terrorist groups.
Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, said in a June 7 statement that “All journeys begin with a single step, and we hope the Taliban joins the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in taking this first step towards what could be a more peaceful, prosperous and secure Afghanistan.”