Afghan guard shoots dead two NATO troops

An Afghan guard opened fire and shot dead two NATO troops accompanying a reconstruction convoy traveling in a northern province today.

The shooting took place in the Darah district of Panjshir province, about 62 miles north of the capital, Kabul, according to provincial police chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh.

The police chief said the guard, who goes by the name Amanullah, was standing outside his home when the convoy passed by. He stopped the convoy, started arguing with the NATO troops and then opened fire, Jangalbagh said. A third coalition service member was wounded in the shooting.

Jangalbagh said another NATO service member fired back and killed Amanullah.

NATO confirmed the shooting took place and that there was an unspecified number of casualties. The coalition said it is investigating the incident.

The two deaths bring to 283 the number of NATO service members who have died in Afghanistan this year and 12 this month.

Shootings of NATO personnel by Afghan security forces have plagued the war effort for years.

The causes of the shootings have ranged from suspected infiltration by insurgent sleeper agents to spontaneous arguments between Afghan security personnel and NATO troops that turned violent.

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

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.

According to Jangalbagh, the police chief, Amanullah worked as the bodyguard of the second-ranking official in Afghanistan's intelligence service — Gen. Assam Din Assam, the deputy director for National Directorate for Security.

Assam was not at the scene of the shooting in Panjshir.