Gunmen in Afghan uniform kill three NATO troops

Reuters / Ako Rasheed
Three NATO soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in two separate incidents, both apparently involving members of local security forces. Two of are believed to have been members of British military staff.

In the latest incident a NATO soldier, whose identity has not yet been revealed, was shot in eastern Afghanistan by an alleged member of the Afghan local police.

According to operational reports, the ISAF service member was shot by an alleged member of the Afghan local police as the security forces approached an ALP checkpoint. The circumstances behind the incident are currently under investigation by Afghan and coalition forces,” says a statement released by NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Earlier, a man in Afghan army uniform opened fire at British servicemen in the south of the country, killing two. NATO spokesman Major Jason Waggoner confirmed the incident, saying the gunman was “shot and killed,” though he did not provide further details.

The earlier incident took place at Camp Bastion, NATO’s main base in Helmand province, which is situated north-west of the province’s capital, Lashkar Gah. The base was built by the British in 2006 and accommodates 21,000 people.

A Helmand provincial spokesman, Daud Ahmadi, said the British soldiers passed a remark to an Afghan guard at the main base gate about him incorrectly patting down a person coming into the compound. The Afghan then pointed his machine-gun at the two soldiers and shot them dead.

The UK Defense Ministry, while acknowledging the incident, declined to provide any personal details on the deceased. But a NATO official confirmed to the Associated Press that the two men were British.

The number of similar incidents has been growing over the last year and as a result tensions are running increasingly high between the coalition forces and the Afghans over repeated incidents that have left Afghan civilians dead or wounded.

The latest notorious incident pertains to an American soldier, allegedly acting alone, going on a rampage in two neighboring villages in Kandahar province, killing 17 civilians. The fact that the soldier was returned to the US without trial in Afghanistan has escalated tensions in the country to a fever pitch.

Another incident in February sparked violent protests after the US troops at a military base in Bagram improperly disposed of Korans confiscated from inmates. The riots and attacks on American base killed over 30 people, six American soldiers included.

The so-called green-on-blue attacks, in which Afghan security or military forces turn on their NATO trainers, are becoming increasingly common. The Taliban also is getting accustomed to the tactics of disguising its fighters in Afghan army uniforms to launch attacks on coalition forces.

In late February, police were hunting an Afghan police intelligence officer suspected of killing two American ISAF officers at the Interior Ministry in Kabul. The officer has not been located.

In early February, an Afghan guard was shot dead by an American counterpart in Saripul province after arguing at the gate of a US base. The American reported that he thought his Afghan colleague was about to attack him.

All in all, there have been reports of already 20 NATO service personnel killed by soldiers of the Afghan army and law enforcement, allegedly recruited for this purpose by the Taliban.