KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan security forces shot and killed three international troops Monday, one of them an American, in two attacks. They were the latest in a rising number of attacks in which Afghan forces have turned their weapons on their foreign partners.
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.
U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said these types of attacks are characteristic of any warfare involving insurgents.
We experienced these in Iraq. We experienced them in Vietnam, Allen said. On any occasion where you’re dealing with an insurgency and where you’re also growing an indigenous force, ... the enemy’s going to do all that they can to disrupt both the counterinsurgency operations and the developing nation’s security forces.
Since 2007, an estimated 80 NATO service members have been killed by Afghan security forces, according to an Associated Press tally, based on Pentagon figures released in February. More than 75 percent of the attacks have occurred in the past two years.
In one attack Monday, 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, the coalition said.
Another NATO service member was shot and 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 insurgency.
The Pentagon confirmed Monday that the dead soldier was American but did not release further details.