Shooting in Afghanistan continues deadly trend

An Afghan police trainee practices shooting as a U.S. Marine looks on at Adraskan Police Training Center on July 15, 2011.

Story highlights

  • Three other ISAF soldiers were wounded in the shooting
  • A U.S. congressional panel recently addressed this issue
  • Similar shootings have angered France

A man in an Afghan police uniform opened fire on NATO troops in Afghanistan, killing one, NATO said, in what seems to be the latest of dozens of cases of Afghan security forces turning their weapons on international troops who are supposed to be their allies.

An Albanian soldier was killed, and three other troops were injured, including two Albanians and an American, according to the provincial government in Kandahar, where the shooting took place.

The violence resulted from an argument between Afghan police and coalition soldiers who were distributing paperwork to students in the area, the Kandahar media office said.

An arrest was made and the incident was being investigated, the media office said.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force released a short statement confirming the shooting and the death without giving the nationality of the soldier or any other details.

There have been at least 42 attacks by Afghan security forces on their international allies in the past five years, a top U.S. lawmaker said earlier this month.

Most attackers were acting on their own, rather than being puppets of insurgent groups, defense officials testified before the House Armed Services Committee.

France suspended its operations in Afghanistan this year after two such incidents left six French troops dead.

U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, a California Republican who chairs the Armed Services Committee, detailed at least 42 attackers, all members of the Afghan National Security Force, between 2007 and 2011.

The panel heard testimony from defense officials who laid out delicate issues pertaining to Afghan security forces, among them the vetting of Afghans brought onto coalition bases to provide security.

The defense officials said that in 58% of cases, the attackers acted on their own accord, perhaps over a personal dispute.

Such disputes can arise from cultural misunderstanding, religious and ideological friction or combat stress, said Brig. Gen. Stephen Townsend, director of the Pakistan/Afghanistan Coordination Cell in the Joint Chiefs of Staff office.

He said cultural training has been vital for U.S. soldiers, and now the Afghans are considering doing the same in providing better understanding of Americans.

Another group of perpetrators involved insurgents who were able to pass themselves off as Afghan soldiers and infiltrate bases.

The incidents represent a fraction of the total coalition deaths in the war but are are extremely damaging, fueling a mutual distrust in a critical moment in Afghanistan's transition, the experts said.

The NATO-led military coalition is attempting to help transition local forces to take over security in war-ravaged Afghanistan as foreign troop levels fall.

President Barack Obama has announced a U.S. withdrawal in 2014.

France suspended its operations after four French soldiers were killed by Afghan counterparts in eastern Kapisa province in January. That shooting followed an incident in December where another Afghan soldier killed two French soldiers.

"The French army is not in Afghanistan to be shot at by Afghan soldiers," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after the shootings.