NATO soldiers killed as Afghan violence flares


A NATO service member was killed in an apparent “rogue” shooting by a man dressed as an Afghan policeman the coalition said, at least the fourth to be killed in a bloody 24 hours in one of Afghanistan’s most volatile areas.

With violence flaring across the country after the first phase of a security transition began last month, an Afghan security official was also killed by a car bomb in northern Kunduz, officials said.

In a brief statement, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the latest killing came when “an individual wearing an Afghan National Police uniform turned his weapon against the service member.”

It said ISAF and Afghan officials were investigating but gave no other details, Reuters reports.

Most of the NATO forces serving in the east, where a fractured and violent insurgency has developed over the past 18 months, are American, although there are also French troops in the area.

The killing of the ISAF member was the latest in a string of apparent “rogue” killings by Afghan police and soldiers, or by insurgent infiltrators.

Such killings have underscored the challenges ahead as NATO scrambles to hand security responsibility to Afghan forces across the country by the end of 2014. The first phase of that process began last month.

In the same statement, ISAF said another service member had been killed in a separate attack by insurgents in the east on Thursday. Again, no further details were available.

Late on Wednesday, ISAF also said another two of its troops had been killed by a roadside bomb. At least six ISAF troops have been killed so far in August, mirroring a steady, year-long trend of intensifying violence.

In the west, four Italian soldiers were wounded by a roadside bomb while they were on patrol south of Herat, a major trading hub near the border with Iran, the Italian military in Rome said. ISAF in Kabul confirmed there had been an explosion which wounded an unspecified number of troops.


In 2010, violence across Afghanistan was its worst since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001, with civilian and military casualties at record levels.

A total of 711 foreign troops were killed in 2010, the deadliest year of the war for the coalition, and at least 340 have been killed so far this year, according to independent monitor and figures kept by Reuters.

U.S. and European military commanders have claimed significant success against Taliban insurgents in the south over the past 18 months, mainly with the help of an additional 30,000 U.S. troops deployed in the Taliban’s southern heartland to fight a growing insurgency.

However the Taliban and other insurgents have shown an alarming ability to adapt their tactics and shift the focus of their attacks out of the south into the east and the once relatively peaceful north and west.

Thursday’s car bomb in northern Kunduz came two days after suicide attackers killed four security guards at a guesthouse in the city used by foreigners.

Three children were also wounded by the blast from a bomb planted in the car of Payenda Khan, a district head for the National Directorate of Security in Kunduz city, said Sayed Sarwar Husaini, a spokesman for the provincial policeman.

Husaini had earlier said Khan was head of the National Directorate of Security in Kunduz province, but later said he had been given incorrect information.

There has been a series of high-profile attacks and assassinations in the north in the past couple of years as insurgents seek to demonstrate their reach beyond their traditional southern heartland.

The police chief of north Afghanistan, General Dawood Dawood, was assassinated in late May by a massive bomb in Takhar province that also killed the Takhar police chief.

In June, a suicide bomber killed at least four policemen at a memorial service for Dawood in Kunduz. The attack appeared to target the police chief of Kunduz province, Sameullah Qatra, whose predecessor was killed by a suicide bomber in March.