Gunman in Afghan Army Uniform Kills Coalition Soldier

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KABUL, Afghanistan -- A person wearing an Afghan army uniform shot and killed a service member from the American-led coalition in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday before being shot dead himself, Afghan and coalition officials said.

It was the second time in a week that someone believed to be a member of the Afghan security forces turned his weapon on foreign troops. But the overall violence, known as insider or green-on-blue attacks, remains down sharply from last year, when it provoked a crisis of confidence in the coalition mission to train Afghan forces.

The coalition provided few details about Thursday's attack. It said one of its service members had been shot and killed by an individual wearing an Afghan security forces uniform -- standard phrasing in these instances -- and that the gunman was then killed at a base in eastern Afghanistan.

The statement did not elaborate, apart from saying that the scene of the attack had been secured and that an investigation was under way.

But Afghan officials said that an Afghan soldier, or someone wearing an army uniform, had killed an American soldier at a base in the Gerda Sarai District of Paktia Province.

Rohullah Samon, a spokesman for the provincial government, said the attack took place during a training exercise on the joint base. The attacker was killed, Mr. Samon said, though he did not specify whether Afghan or American soldiers were the ones who returned fire.

The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, according to The Associated Press. Though insurgents often claim such attacks, most Afghan and American officials believe the violence is more often caused by personal enmity or cultural tension.

Last year's spike in insider attacks prompted American, European and Afghan commanders, assisted by the Afghan intelligence services, to begin a broad effort to curb the violence. The efforts appear to have worked, with the number of coalition service members killed in insider attacks dropping from more than 60 last year, a record, to 14 so far this year.

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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