A military academy in Kabul, the so called “Sandhurst in the Sand”, set up by the British with a high profile opening this month, has been the scene of an “insider attack” in which an Afghan cadet shot and wounded three Western soldiers.
It was the fourth “green-on-blue” attack in a month, members of Afghan security forces turning their guns on their supposed allies, after a reduction in such cases due to new security precautions being brought in and the drastic scaling down of combat missions by Nato-led training forces.
The shooting at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy followed a disagreement between an Afghan sentry at the gate, who had confiscated a laptop, and Australian and New Zealand troopers who tried to get it back.
The row rapidly turned into a firefight with soldiers inside rushing out to intervene after one of the Western soldiers, it is claimed, swore at the Afghan who responded by shooting one of the Australian in the chest, followed by two others. There was no immediate evidence that the sentry was a Taliban sympathiser.
Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, the chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, said: “One of our instructors at the Afghan army officer academy was doing a task in the adjacent Afghan unit. He was escorted by two Australian force protection people, as they were coming back from that meeting, without notice an Afghani soldier, a single Afghani soldier, shot at them.
“It was the Afghani that fired first, firing three rounds. He fired one standing and then dropped to his knees and fired two more rounds.”
The attack will be a source of embarrassment for British officials. The academy will be the only UK military presence after the formal end of the mission by the start of 2015 after a 13 year presence. The US is currently negotiating the terms under which American forces will stay on afterwards with their legal statues a sticking point with the government of Hamid Karzai. Germany, Italy and Turkey are expected to be the other main troop contributing nations.