More than a dozen U.S. Army special operations soldiers are trapped in Marjah, Afghanistan, taking cover in a compound surrounded by enemy fire and hostile Taliban fighters after a U.S. special operations solider was killed, and two others wounded, earlier in the day, senior U.S. defense officials told Fox News late Tuesday.
The Department of Defense did not name the casualties, saying only that the incident took place near Marjah in Helmand Province.
“We are deeply saddened by this loss,” U.S. Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner said in a statement.
American defense officials told NBC News that U.S. Special Operations Forces were involved in a counter-terrorism operation in the Marjah area of Helmand province when they came under attack.
A U.S. medevac chopper called in to recover casualties then came under mortar and small-arms fire. the officials said. It was not clear if the helicopter had been hit by enemy fire or whether any casualties were sustained in that landing zone, the officials added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
U.S.-backed forces have been fighting to suppress the Taliban in Marjah for weeks. A spokesman for the Taliban — which frequently exaggerates its claims — said Tuesday the group had shot down a U.S. transport helicopter in Helmand.
The rest of the U.S. special operations team remain in the compound to secure the damaged HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter in an area surrounded by Taliban fighters.
Earlier in the day, two USAF HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters were sent to rescue the U.S. special operations team. One of the helicopters took fire and waved off the mission and flew back to base.
Recently, U.S. forces have been withdrawing from Afghanistan and militants have been stepping up attacks against Afghan forces. There are fewer than 10,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan. Their primary role is to support Afghan forces.