by WorldTribune Staff, August 7, 2016
A rocket launcher, grenades and numerous rifle rounds were among U.S. military equipment Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) claims to have confiscated in Afghanistan.
ISIL circulated photos of the U.S. gear, which included a M72 single-shot rocket launcher and a spare barrel for an M240 machine gun, 40mm grenades, a hand grenade and smoke grenades, 5.56mm rifle rounds and bigger 7.62mm rounds, which are fired from M240s and sniper rifles.
Also seen in the photos are a ruck sack, body armor, knee pads, eye goggles, gauze, tourniquets and other medical supplies, a multiband radio and flex cuffs used to detain prisoners.
“From the looks of all of this it appears [the perpetrators] may have hit a fixed position,” said Fred Galvin, a retired Marine Corps officer who led a special operations unit in Nangarhar province in 2007. “Maybe they ran across an observation post, or a site where guys were sleeping, bedding down. You can’t tell 100 percent. But it does look like someone was caught in a hasty attack. If they knew they were going to be attacked like that, they would have been wearing their body armor.”
Also in the photos is the military ID card of an Army Specialist. There are no reports of any American military personnel having been captured, said Henrietta Levin, a Defense Department spokeswoman.
Reports that an Army Specialist was captured “are false … he has been accounted for and remains in a duty status within his unit,” Levin said. “We are looking into how he lost possession of his ID but can confirm he has been accounted for with his unit.”
SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors ISIL and other terrorist organizations, said the photos were published by ISIL’s Amaq news agency after jihadists confiscated the equipment and documents in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.
American special operations troops are operating in Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan. The region has become a stronghold for the estimated 1,000 to 1,500 ISIL fighters in Afghanistan, most believed to be disaffected Taliban who were forced out of Pakistan.
In late July, five American troops were wounded there during separate engagements with ISIL fighters, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson, said recently. The Americans were accompanying a group of Afghan troops on what Nicholson described as a clearing mission intended to help the Afghans reclaim territory lost to ISIL. None of the injuries was life threatening, Nicholson said.
Meanwhile, Isis has claimed responsibility for the Aug. 6 machete attack on two Belgian police officers.
The attacker, who has not been named by the Belgian authorities but was said to be of Algerian origin, was shot dead as he attacked two policewomen outside the main police station in the southern city of Charleroi.
One officer suffered deep cuts to the face in the attack, while the other received minor injuries.
After a meeting of the National Security Council, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the attack was being investigated as a terrorist incident.