Afghan Guard Attacks NATO Troops


Associated Press

KABUL: An Afghan guard opened fire at NATO troops accompanying a reconstruction convoy traveling in a northern province, killing one service member and a civilian working for the coalition, NATO said.

The shooting took place in the Darah district of Panjshir province, about 62 miles (99 kilometers) north of the capital, Kabul, according to provincial police chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh.

NATO spokesman U.S. Army Lt. Col. David Doherty confirmed that a NATO service member and a civilian employee were killed and said the coalition is investigating the incident.

NATO did not identify the nationalities of the deceased and released no other details about the incident.

Mr. Jangalbagh, the Panjshir police chief, said the Afghan guard, who goes by the name Amanullah, was standing outside his home when the convoy passed by.

The guard stopped the convoy, started arguing with the NATO troops and then opened fire, Mr. Jangalbagh said. A third coalition service member was wounded in the shooting, the police chief added, and another NATO service member fired back, killing Mr. Amanullah.

The incident raises to 282 the number of NATO service members who have died in Afghanistan this year and 11 this month.

Shootings of NATO personnel by Afghan security forces have plagued the war effort for years.

The causes of the shootings have ranged from suspected infiltration by insurgent sleeper agents to spontaneous arguments between Afghan security personnel and NATO troops that turned violent.

More than 70 people have been killed incidents involving Afghan security forces, or attackers disguised as security personnel, who have turned their weapons against Afghan or NATO troops since September 2007.

Such incidents have become more common over time. Out of about 25 attacks, nearly half took place in 2011. NATO officials have said that the incidents have taken a toll on the morale among coalition forces and recently have implemented additional training and screening techniques to identify problems among Afghan recruits.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, but others appeared to have little connection to the insurgency.

According to Mr. Jangalbagh, the shooter, Amanullah, worked as a bodyguard for the second-ranking official in Afghanistan’s intelligence service Gen. Assam Din Assam, the deputy director for National Directorate for Security.

Mr. Assam was not at the scene of the shooting in Panjshir. No one at the intelligence agency could be reached for comment.

Panjshir is one of Afghanistan’s safest provinces and one among seven slated for transition from NATO to Afghan control this month. Most of Panjshir’s population are Tajiks, while the Taliban are dominated by Pashtuns, who mostly live in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

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