Friday, May 25, 2018
News Roundup

Gunman who killed NATO soldier may have been contract security guard

KABUL, Afghanistan — A gunman who may have been a contract security guard killed a member of the international coalition force in southern Afghanistan and in turn was slain, NATO said in a written statement Saturday.

The nationalities of the coalition member and the assailant were not released.

Ghulam Gelani Farahee, deputy police chief of Zabol province, said that the shooting took place at a remote location, and that information remained scarce. The man described as a security guard, known as a "local guard," was contracted by NATO, he said.

The periphery of many NATO facilities, embassies and soft targets such as Western hotels and the headquarters of civic groups, are protected by private or government-employed Afghan security guards.

There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting. There have been a growing number of attacks in the past several years in which foreign troops were killed by men in Afghan police, army or related security uniforms. The Taliban has encouraged insider strikes, often exploiting them for publicity purposes.

These attacks serve several purposes, analysts said. They sow distrust between the foreign and Afghan militaries when cooperation is increasingly important. Foreign combat troops are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, placing a premium on cooperation, joint patrols and training as Afghans assume more responsibility.

BOGOTA, Colombia — A small plane on a U.S. counter-drug mission crashed Saturday in a remote, jungle region of northern Colombia, killing three Americans and a Panamanian National Guardsman and seriously injuring the other two Americans aboard.

The Havilland Dash 8 was flying over the western Caribbean when it lost radio contact with the U.S.-sponsored multinational task force in Key West that runs drug interdiction in region, the U.S. military said.

Such planes typically track speedboats that smuggle cocaine from Colombia north into Central America and the Caribbean, but U.S. Southern Command spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Ron Flanders said he did not have details on the mission.

It was not clear if the Americans aboard were all military contractors, although SouthCom did say that the plane was contracted by the U.S. government.

The twin-engine turboprop plane went down near the city of Capurgana close to the border with Panama.

The two injured Americans were rescued by Colombian soldiers and taken to a hospital in the capital, Bogota, SouthCom said. The names of the Americans were withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Gen. Nicasio de Jesus Martinez, commander of the Colombian army's Brigade IV whose troops traveled to the accident scene, ruled out the possibility that the plane was shot down by rebels active in Colombia.

"There was no aggression, no impact," said Martinez, adding that it was too soon to know if the crash was caused by mechanical failure, human error or the weather. SouthCom also said there was no indication the plane was shot down.

The region where it crashed is mountainous jungle and rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, operate there along with drug traffickers.

Local farmers reported that the plane went down about 1 a.m. in a rural part of the municipality of Acandi.

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