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U.S. service member killed, 2 wounded in 'insider attack' in Afghanistan

The Taliban described the attack as a 'heroic operation' in a message on their official Telegram channel
U.S. soldiers in Kabul.Wakil Kohsar / AFP - Getty Images file

One American service member was killed and two others were wounded on Saturday in what the U.S.-led coalition described as an "apparent insider attack."

The Department of Defense on Sunday identified the dead solider in a statement as Cpl. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California.

Image: Cpl. Joseph Maciel
Cpl. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California, died on July 7, 2018 from wounds sustained during an apparent insider attack in in Tarin Kowt District, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.Department of Defence

The statement offered no additional details of how the apparent insider attack occurred. An earlier statement from NATO Resolute Support Mission said the incident was under investigation and that the injured service members were in stable condition.

The Taliban did not claim responsibility for the attack, but acknowledged it in a message on its official Telegram channel. The attack took place at Tarinkot Airport in the the southern province of Uruzgan and was carried out by a member of the Afghan security forces, it said.

It was not immediately clear what became of the shooter.

Maciel, an infantryman assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, had been in the Army for two years and in Afghanistan since February, the 3rd Infantry Division said in a statement. He is survived by his mother and father.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

"Cpl. Maciel was an excellent soldier beloved by his teammates and dedicated to our mission," Maciel's battalion commander, Lt. Col. David Conner, said in the 3rd Infantry Division statement.

"Our prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time," Conner said in the statement.

The Taliban have been battling U.S.-led NATO forces in an attempt to restore their version of strict Islamic law in the country after being toppled by a U.S.-led campaign in 2001. Efforts to impose a ceasefire in the region have been mostly unsuccessful.

Last year, the United States added thousands of additional troops to its forces in Afghanistan, which are engaged in both training and advising Afghan forces and conducting counterterrorist missions against Islamic State and other militant groups.

As in other areas of the war, Afghan units suffer more heavily than coalition units from insider attacks. A Pentagon report last month said there were 47 so-called "green-on-green" attacks, or incidents where Afghan soldiers turn on their own side, so far this year.