U.S. and Afghan forces came under direct fire during an operation in the Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, U.S. military officials said.
Few details were available, but Col. Sonny Leggett, spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, confirmed troops had come under fire in a statement sent to CNN and Military Times.
“We are assessing the situation and will provide further updates as they become available,” Leggett wrote.
Between 12,000 and 13,000 U.S. troops are currently serving in Afghanistan.
At the end of January the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reported that the number of attacks initiated by the Taliban were the highest in the fourth quarter of 2019 than during any quarter since 2010.
But the number of civilian casualties was down 20 percent from the same quarter the previous year, the report noted.
According to the same report, the number of American military casualties in 2019 — 23 deaths and 192 injuries — were the highest they have been since January 2015.
During Tuesday’s State of the Union address U.S. President Donald Trump expressed intentions to withdraw from Afghanistan.
“I am not looking to kill hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan, many of them innocent,” Trump said. “It is also not our function to serve other nations as a law enforcement agency. These are warfighters, the best in the world, and they either want to fight to win or not fight at all. We are working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our troops back home.”