"Some of our servicemembers have been wounded in this operation, a total of five," Nicholson stated. adding that that the US special operators sustained injuries from small arms fire and shrapnel.
The US troops were involved in a joint counter-Daesh operation with the Afghan special forces in Nangarhar province in southern Afghanistan, the commander noted.
The approximate number of Daesh fighters operating in Afghanistan has decreased to 1,000-1,500 members from some 3,000 estimated earlier, the general said
The US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan formally ended its operations in December 2014 after a presence in the country since 2001 to help local authorities to defeat the Taliban Islamist movement. Afghanistan, however, continues to be in political and social turmoil as jihadist groups take advantage of the instability in the country.
US President Barack Obama announced prior of the July 8-9 NATO summit in Warsaw his decision to leave 8,400 troops in Afghanistan in order to demonstrate to NATO partners US leadership and enduring support for the mission in the country.
The Afghan army’s casualty rate is running twenty percent higher than in 2015, US Forces Afghanistan Commander said.
“The [Afghan army] casualties are trending about 20 percent higher,” Nicholson told journalists.
In 2015, the Afghan forces took 20,000 total casualties, which itself is a high figure for a young army, Nicholson noted.
Many of the casualties suffered by Afghan forces have occurred at static checkpoints, Nicholson said, and while reducing dependency on checkpoints is an objective, they are important for political and social reasons in lending a sense of protection.