Afghan guard shoots dead NATO soldier, civilian

AP News
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Posted: Jul 09, 2011 10:52 AM
Afghan guard shoots dead NATO soldier, civilian

An Afghan guard opened fire at a NATO-escorted reconstruction convoy after an argument Saturday, killing a service member and a civilian working for the coalition before being killed by return fire, a provincial police chief said.

The convoy was traveling in the northern Panjshir province, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of the capital, Kabul, when it came under attack, according to provincial police chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh.

The Afghan guard, who goes by the name Amanullah, was standing outside his home when the convoy passed by, the police chief said.

The guard stopped the convoy, started arguing with the NATO troops and then opened fire, killing the service member and the civilian, Jangalbagh said. A third coalition service member was wounded in the shooting, the police chief added, and another NATO service member fired back, killing Amanullah.

Amanullah worked as a bodyguard for the second-ranking official in Afghanistan's intelligence service _ Gen. Assam Din Assam, the deputy director for National Directorate for Security, the police chief said.

Assam was not at the scene of the shooting in Panjshir. No one at the intelligence agency could be reached for comment.

Panjshir is one of Afghanistan's safest provinces and one among seven slated for transition from NATO to Afghan control this month. Most of Panjshir's population are Tajiks, while the Taliban are dominated by Pashtuns, who mostly live in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

NATO spokesman U.S. Army Lt. Col. David Doherty confirmed the deaths of the service member and the civilian and said the incident is being investigated. NATO did not identify the nationalities of those killed and released no other details.

The incident raises to 282 the number of NATO service members who have died in Afghanistan this year. Eleven were killed so far this month.

Shootings of NATO personnel by Afghan security forces have plagued the war effort for years. The causes have ranged from suspected infiltration by insurgent sleeper agents to spontaneous arguments between Afghan security personnel and NATO troops that turned violent.

Since September 2007, more than 70 people have been killed in incidents involving Afghan security forces, or attackers disguised as security personnel, who have turned their weapons against Afghan or NATO troops.

Such incidents have become more common over time. Out of about 25 attacks, nearly half took place in 2011. NATO officials have said that the incidents have taken a toll on the morale among coalition forces and recently have implemented additional training and screening techniques to identify problems among Afghan recruits.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, but others appeared to have little connection to the insurgency.

In Kabul, meanwhile, a government commission issued findings that brought the country no closer to resolving the political crisis over the legitimacy the parliament.

Last month, a special tribunal overturned nearly 25 percent of last year's legislative election results, saying that 62 of the country's sitting parliamentarians were fraudulently elected. Election officials and parliamentarians contend the special tribunal itself is illegal and a tool for President Hamid Karzai to unseat his enemies. The international community has backed the election officials _ saying that there is no constitutional basis for the tribunal.

Saturday's recommendation by a Karzai-appointed commission only extended the confrontation. The commission said the issue should be taken up by a secondary court that will consider both the rulings of the first tribunal and election officials' reviews of the those rulings.