Three soldiers killed in Afghanistan identified, Taliban claims responsibility

Corporal Dillon Baldridge (left) and Sgt. William Bays were killed during a jointUS-Afghan operation in Afghanistan. (Facebook photos)

The three men of the 101st Airborne Division who were killed on Saturday -by a “friendly” Afghan soldier in the country’s Nangarhar province- have been identified.

US Army Sergeants Eric M. Houck, 25, William M. Bays, 29 and Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge, 22, were killed by an Afghan infiltrator who had worked his way into the Afghan Army’s commando forces.

According to Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani, the assailant was killed by his fellow Afghan troops after her took out the three American soldiers. The incident took place in the Achin District, where US and Afghan troops have been going toe-to-toe with Islamic State-affiliated fighters.

With hometowns ranging from California to North Carolina, the three soldiers were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Company D, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, KY.

The Taliban are claiming credit for the attack, with spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claiming responsibility or the assault on behalf of the group.

“A Mujahid (freedom fighter) infiltrator of the Islamic Emirate who had enrolled himself in the Kabul government’s army attacked American soldiers in Lata Band area of Achin district in Nangarhar province today in the afternoon,” the group said in a local written statement. “The American invaders were there to support their Afghan slaves.”

American President Donald J. Trump was briefed on the shootings, but has yet to comment on the situation. Vice President Mike Pence, however, addressed the ambush on Saturday while he was in Milwaukee.

“The President and I have been briefed. Details of this attack will be forthcoming,” Pence said. “When heroes fall, Americans grieve. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of American heroes.”

According to CBS, US Forces Afghanistan are investigating the incident.

Author

  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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