KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. special forces accompanied and later fought alongside Afghan troops who stormed the northern city of Kunduz on Thursday to wrest back control from Taliban insurgents, the international military coalition in Afghanistan said.
A spokesman said the American troops were advisers, but were forced to defend themselves while traveling with Afghan forces on their offensive to retake the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban since 2001.
“U.S. Special Forces advisers, while advising and assisting elements of the Afghan Special Security Forces, encountered an insurgent threat in Kunduz city (on) Oct. 1,” said Col. Brian Tribus.
He added that the Americans “returned fire in self-defence to eliminate the threat”.
He did not say how many coalition advisers participated in the battle.
Roughly 6,500 American troops serve in the residual Resolute Support mission to train and advise Afghan forces, and Tribus said they do not engage in combat. “However, our service members have the right to protect themselves if necessary.”
Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Mike Collett-White