The murder of US and NATO military personnel by Afghan security forces has skyrocketed in recent days, with five troops killed in the past week. Four have been killed in the aftermath of the Koran-burning incident, including two US Army officers who were gunned down in the Interior Ministry today. From Reuters:
Two Americans believed to be a U.S. colonel and major were shot dead in Afghanistan’s interior ministry on Saturday, security sources said, while rage gripped the country for a fifth day over the burning of the Muslim holy book at a NATO base.
A spokeswoman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed two of their servicemen had been shot dead in central Kabul by an individual who turned his weapon on them. She declined to say if the killer was a member of the Afghan military or police.
According to the BBC, NATO has withdrawn all of its personnel from the Afghan ministries after today’s shooting.
The Taliban claimed credit for the attack in a statement that was released on their website, Voice of Jihad:
A recent news report from Kabul province state that on later Saturday Abd-ur-Rahman and his fellow, two brave Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Afghan shot and killed 4 high-ranking American military officer-cum-advisers within the ministry of defenses in the heart of Kabul city, the capita of the country.
Mujahid Abdurrahman, working in the ministry of defenses, said though cellular phone from within the facility of the ministry of defense that they took out the four said American invaders this evening in reaction to the desecration of Holy Quran by the US invaders in Bagram Airbase and as way of retaliatory action for the constantan blasphemy and violation of our sacrosanctities by the foreign occupiers, particularly the US terrorist forces. Abdurrahman added that they were putting up strong resistance against the invaders and their puppets within facility for quite a while.
Two days ago, two US soldiers were killed when an Afghan soldier in Nangarhar turned his weapon on US forces at a base during protests. The Afghan soldier escaped into the crowd.
And on Feb. 20, one Albanian soldier was killed in an ambush by Afghan policemen in Spin Boldak in Kandahar. From The Associated Press:
Monday’s shooting occurred in the village of Robat, in Kandahar province’s Spin Boldak district which borders Pakistan, said Kandahar police chief Abdul Raziq. The troops had gone there for a meeting about opening two schools and a health center, the Albanian defense ministry said.
The soldiers “found themselves attacked by a group of persons wearing uniforms of the Afghan police,” Brig. Gen. Viktor Berdo, the head of Albanian land forces, told reporters in the country’s capital Tirana.
The attackers opened fire with five assault rifles and one light machine gun, the Albanian Defense Ministry said. One Albanian, a captain, died later in a hospital in the provincial capital of Kandahar city. Albanian officials initially said a corporal also was killed, but later clarified that the soldier was in a coma, adding “there is still hope of improvement.”
After the shooting, 11 Afghan policemen were arrested.
The US is predicating its transition of security to the Afghan National Security Forces on the US military’s ability to partner with Afghan forces. With the rash of murders by Afghan troops in the field, at military bases, and in Afghan ministries, this will be exceedingly difficult to do.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.