WASHINGTON — A US soldier was killed at an Afghan police checkpoint on Monday in the latest “insider attack” by local security forces, a US military official said.
The assault in eastern Afghanistan was the second shooting incident of the day involving Afghans opening fire on their NATO-led allies, with two British soldiers shot dead in the southern province of Helmand. The attacks brought the death toll to 16 this year for such incidents.
The two British troops were killed when an Afghan soldier opened fire at the entrance gate to British headquarters in Lashkar Gah city. The attacker was shot dead by coalition forces and another British soldier was severely wounded.
Later on Monday, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force reported a separate attack in Paktika province with “an alleged member of the Afghan local police” firing on coalition forces as they approached a police checkpoint, killing an ISAF service member.
A US military official in Washington confirmed the dead soldier was an American.
A spokesman for the governor of Paktika province said two policemen were involved, both of whom were wounded when NATO forces returned fire.
More than one in six of the 91 foreign soldiers to have died in the country in 2012 have been killed in so-called “green-on-blue” attacks by Afghan security troops, and the growing problem has commanders worried about the effect on the war-effort.
A gradual withdrawal of US and coalition forces by the end of 2014 hinges on building up Afghan army and police but the surge in “fratricidal” attacks threatens to undermine that strategy, with strained relations between NATO troops and Afghan forces marked by distrust and cultural clashes.