Afghan in police uniform shoots, kills 2 U.S. troops
An Afghan wearing a police uniform shot and killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded two others during a joint patrol in eastern Afghanistan.
The New York Times
KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan wearing a police uniform shot and killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded two others during a joint patrol in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, Afghan officials said. The man escaped.
A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said Afghan and U.S. officials were investigating whether the attacker was a police officer or a militant dressed as one.
Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the regional governor, said the soldiers had been gathered in a meeting when the shooting took place. A U.S. military spokeswoman confirmed the American deaths but declined to give further details.
The shooting occurred around midnight Friday in the district of Nerkh, a troubled area in Wardak, a province that was one of the first to receive fresh U.S. troops as part of President Obama's troop increase this year.
In the account offered by Shahid, the Americans had been on a joint patrol with Afghan police officers in the village of Andar. They stopped in a building to discuss plans for the rest of their patrol, Shahid said. At that point, a man he identified as an Afghan police officer opened fire.
But Ezmary Bashari, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said the identity of the man was unclear and the soldiers had been outside on patrol when the attacker struck.
The man escaped, but Afghan forces arrested two of his relatives, Shahid said. The wounded Americans were sent to Germany for treatment.
Much about the episode remained unclear Saturday, but it raised the troubling specter of the risks of mentoring Afghan security forces, who often are poorly educated and sometimes have sympathies for the Taliban. U.S. commanders say training Afghan security forces is central to the military's effort in Afghanistan, and U.S. troops are increasingly taking on the role of teachers.
A third U.S. service member died Friday of wounds from a bombing in Wardak, the day before.
In violence Saturday, a remote-controlled bomb on a motorbike exploded in a market in northern Kunduz province, killing three Afghans in a region that recently has seen a spike in attacks. Elsewhere in the north, a Finnish convoy hit a roadside bomb in Balkh province, destroying one of the vehicles and injuring four soldiers, Afghan and Finnish officials said.
In western Afghanistan, a Taliban attack on a NATO supply convoy killed a civilian contractor escorting the trucks, said Raouf Ahmadi, a regional police spokesman.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.
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