KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan security forces shot and killed an American soldier and two British troops Monday in two attacks, officials said. The shootings were the latest in a rising number in which Afghan forces have turned their weapons on their foreign partners.
The American was killed at a checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan by a man who was believed to be a member of a village-level fighting force the U.S. is fostering in hopes of countering the Taliban, the NATO coalition said.
The two British service members were killed by an Afghan soldier in front of the main gate of a joint civilian-military base in southern Afghanistan, officials said. They said the shooter was shot to death.
The killings reflect a spike in tensions between Afghan and international forces that follow an American soldier's alleged massacre of Afghan civilians, the burning of Muslim holy books at a U.S. base, and uncertainty about Afghanistan's fate as foreign troops prepare to pull out.
International troops have stepped up training and mentoring of Afghan soldiers, police and government workers so that Afghans can take the lead and the foreign forces can go home. The success of that partnership is key to the U.S.-led coalition's strategy to withdraw most foreign combat forces by the end of 2014.
Nearly 80 American soldiers have been killed by their Afghan counterparts since 2007. Most of those incidents have happened since 2009.
At a Pentagon news briefing Monday, Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said, "In most cases the relationship between Afghan and NATO forces is very strong. They know each other well." But he added: "We have taken steps necessary on our side to protect ourselves."
Also Monday, a New York Times/CBS News poll reported that more than two-thirds of Americans polled — 69 percent — thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan. Just four months ago, 53 percent said that Americans should no longer be fighting.
The latest poll was conducted by telephone from March 21 to 25 with 986 adults nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Information from the Associated Press and New York Times was used in this report.