Tuesday, January 23, 2018

2 NATO troops die in 'insider attack'

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two troops belonging to the U.S.-led military coalition were killed Saturday when an Afghan policeman turned his weapon on them in southern Afghanistan, NATO said.

The shooting deaths were the latest in a string of so-called "insider attacks" that have increasingly sown mistrust and strained the partnership between Afghan and Western forces battling the Taliban insurgency.

The afternoon attack in southern Helmand province brought to 47 the number of international forces killed by their Afghan partners this year, most of them Americans. The province's deputy police chief, Ismail Hotak, identified the dead troops as British and said four other troops were wounded.

The Afghan shooter was killed by another soldier at the scene in the town of Gereshk, Hotak said. Since 2007, when the insider-attack phenomenon began, about 105 international troops have been killed by rogue Afghan security forces.

The perpetrator was believed to be a member of the 16,000-member Afghan Local Police, the smallest component of the 352,000-strong Afghan national forces.

The U.S. military recently suspended training of 1,000 new Afghan Local Police recruits and also has been revetting the existing ranks.

The shooting came on the same day the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack Friday night against a British base, Camp Bastion, also in Helmand province, that killed two U.S. Marines and wounded several other troops.

A Taliban statement linked the attack to an anti-Islam film that sparked protests in the Muslim world, and to the presence of Britain's Prince at the camp.

Coalition military authorities in Afghanistan said the insurgents wore U.S. Army uniforms and destroyed six Harrier fighter jets, the Associated Press reported.

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