Two American soldiers were killed and six injured in a shootout on Saturday between Afghan and U.S. soldiers involved in joint operations in eastern Afghanistan, the Defense Department said on Sunday. The department identified the two American soldiers as Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas, and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The incident took place in Nangarhar Province where American Special Forces have been aiding Afghan commandos and the Afghan Army in clearing an area threatened by the Taliban. The American military command in Afghanistan said that a joint American and Afghan force had come under “direct fire,” but provided no further details. “We are assessing the situation and will provide further updates as they become available,” said Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the American forces in Afghanistan. It was not immediately clear whether the Taliban was involved in the deadly shootout. Insider attacks by Afghan forces on Americans have been less frequent in recent years, however, top American general Austin S. Miller almost died in a shooting last year by a Taliban infiltrator in an Afghan military uniform.
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