Rogue attack by Afghan soldier may have killed American troops

November 6th, 2010 - 7:37 pm ICT by BNO News  

KABUL (BNO NEWS) — Officials are investigating whether an Afghan soldier was responsible for the deaths of two coalition service members in Afghanistan’s war-torn south, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed on Saturday.

Two service members, whose nationalities have not been released but are believed to be American, were killed on late Thursday evening or early Friday morning in what ISAF initially described as an ‘insurgent attack.’

On late Friday, however, the Taliban in a statement claimed that an Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier was responsible for the attack that took place in Helmand province. “An ANA soldier killed 3 US invaders at 02:00 am this morning inside the enemy base in Tamirano area of Sangin district,” the Taliban said.

Although the Taliban statement claimed that three American soldiers had been killed, ISAF confirmed only two fatalities. The Taliban, however, is known to exaggerate casualty numbers in propaganda statements.

“We are aware of the incident in Helmand province on Thursday,” an ISAF spokesperson told BNO News. “A joint [Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan] and ISAF team is investigating the incident. When we receive the findings of the incident we will issue a press release.”

ISAF would not confirm if anyone had been taken into custody and referred questions about the Afghan soldier to the country’s Ministry of Defence. The Taliban, however, claimed that the Afghan soldier had turned himself in to authorities.

If confirmed, it would be the latest in a series of rogue attacks by Afghan police and soldiers. In August, two ISAF service members and one civilian interpreter were killed when a rogue Afghan National Police (ANP) member opened fire in western Afghanistan. One or more ISAF members returned fire, killing the ANP member.

“These incidents are still very isolated. The coalition forces are training thousands of Afghan Army and Police Forces every day,” said Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, ISAF Spokesperson, after the August attack. “Training the Afghan National Security Forces remains as the foundation of a successful Afghan-led transition strategy.”

Coalition casualties in Afghanistan have been rising sharply this year, with around 90 fatalities in July alone, making it the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the war began on October 7, 2001 in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

On September 11, 2001, two hijacked airliners crashed into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Another airliner crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., while a fourth crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) eventually declared that the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people from scores of countries, was considered an attack on all NATO nations. The NATO-backed war aims to defeat the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the country.

So far this year, more than 600 coalition service members have been killed. Most of them were American and died in Afghanistan’s war-torn southern region. In 2009, the total death toll stood at 521.

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