American shot dead by Afghan soldier

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The Independent Online

An Afghan soldier killed a US service member and wounded two Italian soldiers when he opened fire on foreign troops at an army base in western Afghanistan yesterday, a senior Afghan army officer said.

The shooting is the latest in a string of such incidents, at a time when Western countries are pouring resources into training Afghan soldiers and police to fight the Taliban insurgency.

"The soldier opened fire on the two Italians and one American in a joint Afghan and foreign base," General Khair Mohammad Khawari, a senior officer in western Afghanistan, told Reuters. "Two Italian soldiers were wounded, one American soldier was killed." He added that the Afghan soldier had been wounded when Nato forces returned fire and was now in hospital.

The assailant comes from an area north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, and is thought to have mental health problems, said General Khawari.

Italian defence ministry officials said that the attack, which was deliberate and not a case of friendly fire, occurred during a routine supply operation. One Italian was lightly wounded in the thigh and the other in the hand and leg, but both have returned to their duties.

Last month, an Afghan policeman killed five British soldiers at a military compound in southern Helmand province. The Taliban said he was one of their fighters who had infiltrated the force. The incident prompted Britain to improve its vetting procedure for Afghan police.

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