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‘Friendly Fire’ May Have Killed 2 U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan Raid

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Army soldiers carried the remains of Army Sgt. Joshua Rodgers on Friday. Sgt. Rodgers and Sgt. Cameron Thomas were killed in Afghanistan during a raid on Wednesday.

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Cliff Owen/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Two American soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan during a raid Wednesday night may have been struck by so-called friendly fire, the Pentagon said.

The Defense Department identified the soldiers as Army Rangers, Sgt. Joshua Rodgers, 22, and Sgt. Cameron Thomas, 23, both deployed from Fort Benning, Ga. A third soldier was wounded in the operation, which targeted the emir of Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, Defense Department officials said.

The officials said the military was investigating whether the men had been killed by ground fire, either from American forces or Afghan commandos who were taking part in the raid.

“We are investigating the circumstances of the combat deaths of the two Army Rangers in the beginning of what was an intense three-hour firefight,” the Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, told reporters on Friday. He said it was “possible” that the two Rangers were struck by friendly fire.

The soldiers were killed in an action fighting the Islamic State in Nangarhar Province. They were taking part in a lengthy raid, supported by airstrikes from American warplanes, in Achin, a small district where a number of Islamic State fighters have been engaging in a long-running battle with Afghanistan security forces.

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