Policy: National Security

US: Taliban struck shortly after insider attack

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Associated Press,Afghanistan,National Security,Pentagon,War in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says that shortly after two U.S. soldiers were gunned down by two men wearing Afghan army uniforms in eastern Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents attacked the district center where the Americans had been operating.

The Pentagon identified the soldiers as 22-year-old Spc. John A. Pelham of Portland, Ore., and 41-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Roberto C. Skelt of York, Fla.

The scenario as described Friday by a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, appeared to leave open the possibility that the machine-gun attack that killed the two Army Special Forces soldiers Wednesday was coordinated with the Taliban.

Kirby said he would not speculate on whether the two events were connected. The matter is being investigated jointly by American and Afghan officials.

Pelham's father, Wendall Pelham of Beaverton, Ore., told KGW-TV in Portland that his son was an intelligence analyst on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The younger Pelham was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.

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