Officials: Afghan Soldier Kills American Colleague

Posted January 9th, 2012 at 1:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Afghan military officials said Monday that an Afghan soldier has shot and killed an American service member and wounded at least one other U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan.

The gunman was killed in Sunday's shootout at a base in Zabul province.

Officials with the international coalition in Afghanistan confirmed that a NATO service member was killed, but did not give any other details.

Afghan military officials said they were investigating the circumstances behind Sunday's shooting.

The incident appears to be the latest in a string of isolated attacks over the years by members of the Afghan security forces against coalition soldiers.

Late last month, an Afghan soldier shot and killed two members of the French Foreign Legion in eastern Afghanistan.

Afghan and NATO troops often carry out joint operations against the Taliban insurgency and operate in close proximity to each other. On Monday, NATO announced combined efforts with the Afghan security forces had led to the recent capture of several suspected Taliban leaders and facilitators across the country.

In other news Sunday, the Afghan National Security Council met in Kabul to discuss long-term strategy for the sustainability of the Afghan National Army.

President Hamid Karzai's office issued a statement saying “the meeting focused on the system of training and education, as well as equipment and other means required to enable the force to independently handle the long-term protection and defense of the country, particularly after 2014.”

The international coalition is in the second phase of handing security control over to Afghanistan's army and police, in a gradual process due to be completed by the end of 2014.

But most observers believe that without sustained international backing, deep divisions among various Afghan factions, including the Taliban, could return the country to a civil war-like situation similar to the one Afghanistan experienced after the withdrawal of Soviet forces in the 1990s.