Nato troops killed by rogue Afghan police officer

 

An Afghan police officer turned his gun on Nato troops at a remote checkpoint in the south of the country, killing four American troops, according to Afghan and international officials.

It was the third attack by Afghan forces or insurgents disguised in military uniforms against international forces in as many days, killing eight troops in all. 

Recent months have seen a string of such insider attacks by Afghan forces against their international counterparts. The killings have imperiled the military partnership between Kabul and Nato, a working relationship that is key to the handover of security responsibilities to Afghan forces as international troops draw down. 

The recent violence also comes amid an international uproar about an Internet video mocking the Prophet Muhammad that many fear could further aggravate Afghan-US relations. The video has sparked protests throughout the Muslim world and the Afghan government blocked the YouTube site that hosts the video and its parent company, Google Inc., over the weekend in a move to prevent violent protests. So far, protests in Afghanistan have remained peaceful. 

Details of Sunday's attack on the US troops were slow to come out because it took place in a remote area, said Graybeal, the Nato forces spokesman. 

"The attack took place in the vicinity of an outpost in southern Afghanistan. It is my understanding that it was a checkpoint," Graybeal said. International forces often work with Afghan police to man checkpoints as part of the effort to train and mentor the Afghan forces so that they can eventually operate on their own. The goal is to turn over all security responsibility for the country to the Afghans by the end of 2014, though numbers of Nato forces have already been reduced in many areas. 

Graybeal said one police officer was killed in the clash with Nato troops but that the other officers at the site fled and it was unclear if they were involved in the attack or not. 

Two international troops were wounded and were receiving treatment, Graybeal said. He did not say how serious the injuries were. 

Afghan officials said the checkpoint in Zabul province's Mizan district came under attack first from insurgents sometime around midnight. American forces came to help the Afghan police respond to the attack, said Ghulam Gilani, the deputy police chief of the province. 

It was not clear if some of the Afghan police turned on their American helpers in the middle of the battle with the insurgents, or afterward, or were somehow forced into attacking the American troops by the insurgents, Gilani said. 

"The checkpoint was attacked last night. Then the police started fighting with the Americans. Whether they attacked the Americans willingly we don't know," Gilani said. 

He said all four of the dead were American. A US official speaking on anonymity because the information had not been officially released confirmed that the four killed were American. 

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the police who attacked were not affiliated with the Taliban insurgency. 

"But they are Afghans and they know that Americans are our enemy," Ahmadi told The Associated Press. In an emailed statement, he said the police who fled have joined up with the insurgency. 

The coalition said in a statement that they were investigating what happened. 

So far this year, 51 international service members have died at the hands of Afghan soldiers or policemen or insurgents wearing their uniforms. At least 12 such attacks came in August alone, leaving 15 dead. 

On Saturday, a gunman in the uniform of a government-backed militia force shot dead two British soldiers in Helmand district in the southwest. 
Britain's defense minister said the two soldiers, from 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, were killed at a checkpoint shooting in Nahri Sarraj district of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban have their strongest roots. Nato said earlier that the gunman was wearing a uniform used by the Afghan Local Police, a village-level fighting force overseen by the central government. 

That strike came a day after insurgents wearing US Army uniforms attacked a military base, killing two American Marines, wounding nine other people and destroying six Harrier fighter jets, military officials said. Fourteen insurgents were killed. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack and said that it was revenge for the video insulting Prophet Muhammad. 

In the capital on Sunday, several hundred university students chanted "Death to America!" and "Long life to Islam!" over several hours to protest the video. Riot police cordoned off the area and the protest ended without incident in the early afternoon. A smaller protest went forward in the western city of Herat. 

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee