Reported: U.S. troops in Afghanistan may have been killed

Two U.S. special forces troops killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday may have been struck by friendly fire in an operation targeting the emir of Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesman said on Friday.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters that the military was investigating if the two troops may have been killed by ground fire, either by American forces or Afghan commandos taking part in the raid, though it appeared to be accidental.

"We are investigating the circumstances of the combat deaths of the two Army Rangers in the beginning of what was an intense three-hour fire fight," Davis said. "It is possible these rangers were struck by friendly fire."

Davis said the target of the raid was Abdul Hasib, the emir of Islamic State in Afghanistan. The U.S. military suspected he was killed in the operation, but could not yet confirm it.

RELATED: Taliban attack on military base in Afghanistan

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Afghan national Army (ANA) troops keep watch near the site of an ongoing attack on an army headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Anil Usyan
An Afghan national Army (ANA) soldier receives treatment at a hospital a day after a attack on an army headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif northern Afghanistan April 22, 2017. REUTERS/Anil Usyan TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Afghan national Army (ANA) troops arrive near the site of an ongoing attack on an army headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif northern Afghanistan April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Anil Usyan
A wounded Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier lies on a bed in the ward of a hospital in Mazar-i-Sharif on April 22, 2017, as he receives treatment following an attack that targeted an army compound in the northern Afghan province of Balkh. More than 100 Afghan soldiers have been killed and wounded in a coordinated Taliban attack on an army base in northern Afghanistan, the country's defence ministry said. 'The majority of our soldiers were offering Friday prayers' at the time of the assault, the ministry said in a statement, adding that 'over 100 Afghan army forces were martyred and wounded'. / AFP PHOTO / FARSHAD USYAN (Photo credit should read FARSHAD USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)
BALKH, AFGHANISTAN - APRIL 22: Ambulances carry people, who got wounded on Taliban fighters' attack to the 209th Corps, to hospitals in Balkh province, Afghanistan on April 22, 2017. (Photo by Sayed Khodaberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A wounded Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier lies on a bed in the ward of a hospital in Mazar-i-Sharif on April 22, 2017, as he receives treatment following an attack that targeted an army compound in the northern Afghan province of Balkh. More than 100 Afghan soldiers have been killed and wounded in a coordinated Taliban attack on an army base in northern Afghanistan, the country's defence ministry said. 'The majority of our soldiers were offering Friday prayers' at the time of the assault, the ministry said in a statement, adding that 'over 100 Afghan army forces were martyred and wounded'. / AFP PHOTO / FARSHAD USYAN (Photo credit should read FARSHAD USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photograph taken on April 21, 2017, an Afghan security official stands alert near the site of attack on an army compound in Dihdadi District of Balkh province . More than 100 Afghan soldiers have been killed and wounded in a coordinated Taliban attack on an army base in northern Afghanistan, the country's defence ministry said. 'The majority of our soldiers were offering Friday prayers' at the time of the assault, the ministry said in a statement, adding that 'over 100 Afghan army forces were martyred and wounded'. / AFP PHOTO / FARSHAD USYAN (Photo credit should read FARSHAD USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photograph taken on April 21, 2017, Afghan security personnel stand guard near the site of attack on an army compound in Dihdadi District of Balkh province . More than 100 Afghan soldiers have been killed and wounded in a coordinated Taliban attack on an army base in northern Afghanistan, the country's defence ministry said. 'The majority of our soldiers were offering Friday prayers' at the time of the assault, the ministry said in a statement, adding that 'over 100 Afghan army forces were martyred and wounded'. / AFP PHOTO / FARSHAD USYAN (Photo credit should read FARSHAD USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan security personnel keep watch near the site of an ongoing attack on an army compound in Dihdadi District of Balkh province on April 21, 2017. At least eight Afghan soldiers have been killed and 11 wounded during an ongoing Taliban attack on their base in northern Afghanistan, the defence ministry said.�'Gunmen wearing Afghan army uniforms have launched a complex attack on an army compound in the outskirts of Mazar-e-Sharif',capital of Balkh province, ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP. / AFP PHOTO / FARSHAD USYAN (Photo credit should read FARSHAD USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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The operation was carried out by 50 U.S. Army Rangers along with 40 Afghan commandos, and about 35 Islamic State fighters are believed to have been killed, he said.

Islamic State's offshoot in Afghanistan, known as the Sunni jihadist group's so-called Khorasan Province, is suspected of carrying out several attacks on minority Shi'ite Muslim targets.

U.S. officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province.

Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary. U.S. officials believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.

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