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Afghans kill 3 Nato, 3 US soldiers in single day

Latest attack highlights increase in number of so-called “green-on-blue” incidents

Image Credit: EPA
Afghan police check vehicles at a roadside checkpoint in the Qirshke district, the first station outside Lashkar Gah city, inthe volatile Helmand province, yesterday.
Gulf News

Kabul, Afghanistan: An Afghan working for Nato-led forces in the southern province of Helmand has shot dead three foreign soldiers in a joint military base in Helmand province, officials said on Saturday.

The incident took place late on Friday, just hours after an Afghan dressed in a police uniform had killed three US soldiers.

The attack announced on Saturday comes as the number of these so-called “green-on-blue” incidents — carried out by Afghan police or soldiers or those disguised in their uniforms — is on the rise. But the US-led coalition has said that they are not impeding ongoing work to hand over security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks on Friday in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan — an area where Taliban insurgents have wielded their greatest influence.

The assaults have heightened mistrust between international troops and the Afghan soldiers and police they are training and mentoring. The attacks also raise doubts about the quality of the Afghan forces who have already started taking over for foreign forces in areas of the nation that are home to 75 per cent of the population.

In the first attack, an Afghan police officer shot and killed the three Marines after sharing a meal with them before dawn in the volatile Sangin district. A US Defence Department official confirmed that the dead Americans were Marine Special Operations Forces.

Later in the day, the “latest information available” indicated that an Afghan working on a joint installation farther south in the province shot and killed three other international troops, said Maj Lori Hodge, a spokesman for the coalition in Kabul. Nato usually leaves it to member nations to announce the nationalities of their own casualties.

It was not clear whether the shooter was wearing a uniform.

There have been 26 “green-on-blue” such attacks so far this year, resulting in 34 deaths, Hodge said. Four of the attacks have occurred in the past week.

She said the shooters in both attacks have been detained.

Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman in Helmand province, said the second incident occurred at 8pm on Friday in Garmser district. He said the three Nato service members were killed and a fourth was injured in the attack. A delegation from the Helmand governor’s office was sent to the district to investigate, he said.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi told The Associated Press that a member of the Afghan security forces in Garmser was responsible for killing seven international troops, but the insurgency often exaggerates the death toll of its attacks.