NATO withdraws personnel from Afghan ministries after Kabul killing

Afghan riot police stand guard during a protest against Koran desecration in Kabul on February 24, 2012 (AFP Photo / Massoud Hossaini)
The ISAF commander has recalled all personnel from Afghan ministries after two ISAF members were killed in a shooting inside the Interior Ministry in Kabul. The violence comes as Afghanistan is facing a fifth day of protests over Koran burning.

­Gen. John Allen has said that all military advisors are being recalled "for obvious force protection reasons" following the killing in Kabul.

"I have also taken immediate measures to recall all other [Nato coalition] personnel working in ministries in and around Kabul," he said.

NATO is investigating Saturday's shooting, and will find the person responsible for the attack, Allen said.

The UK also responded to the attack in Kabul by temporarily withdrawing all civilian mentors and advisors from Afghan government institutions in the capital. This is according to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Meanwhile, the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deaths in a statement published on their website.

According to AFP, the statement praised “a hero Abdul Rahman" for killing four advisors. However, NATO officials reported two ISAF members have been killed on Saturday.

"After the attack, Rahman informed us by telephone that he was able to kill four high-ranking American advisors," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed.

The Taliban representative said the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) shootings had been carried out in response to the Koran-burning incident.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed the deaths but has not revealed the nationalities of those killed. However an anonymous US official in Washington said that those killed were Americans.

According to some media, the shooter was wearing Afghan police uniform.

The situation in Afghanistan has seriously escalated since NATO troops burnt copies of the Koran and other sacred texts seized from arrested Afghans in Bagram on Sunday.

Saturday is the fifth days of protests with demonstrations taking place all across the country.

In a separate incident in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, thousands attempted to storm the UN compound. At least three people have been killed and about 50 injured.

Saturday’s violence has added at least nine victims to the 25 killed in the first four days of protests.

­After a decade of war US and NATO forces do not understand the customs and the culture of the Afghan people, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink anti-war group, told RT. “This time the US forces have gone too far for the Afghan people and what we should do is to speed up the withdrawal.”

Despite the billions of US tax dollars spent training Afghan security forces, the recent killing of NATO personnel shows that even they are turning on the US. “It is going to be very difficult for the US forces to continue with the training, to continue with some of the activities they have planned for the coming two or three years,” she warns.