3 US soldiers killed in insider attack in Afghanistan identified

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack by an Afghan soldier.

June 12, 2017, 9:48 AM

— -- The U.S. military has identified the three soldiers killed by an Afghan soldier in an insider attack for which the Taliban claimed responsibility.

Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore; Sgt. William M. Bays, 29, of Barstow, California; and Cpl. Dillon C. Baldridge, 22, of Youngsville, North Carolina, were all from the Army's 101st Airborne Division, headquartered at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The three plus a fourth U.S. soldier who was wounded came under fire in Peka Valley in Nangarhar province on Saturday.

The Afghan soldier who conducted the attack was killed in return fire, according to Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesperson for the governor of Nangarhar.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of our soldiers who were killed and wounded," said Gen. John W. Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, in a statement on Monday. "We will always remember our fallen comrades and remain committed to the mission they carried out and for which they ultimately gave their lives."

Insider, or so-called green-on-blue attacks, have been an ongoing threat to U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan, but the number has declined since 2012 because of new security procedures and better vetting of Afghan security forces.

The motivation for such attacks is sometimes unclear, with some resulting from personal conflicts and others from the Taliban's infiltration of the Afghan military.

The Trump administration is reviewing the overall U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. The U.S. has 8,400 troops in the country, and U.S. officials said the military has proposed sending an additional 2,000 to 4,000 service members. That number may ultimately depend on how many additional troops are committed by other NATO partners.

ABC News' Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

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