KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan soldier turned his weapon on international allies in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, killing two soldiers, the NATO military coalition said.
The killings were the latest in a surge of insider attacks by Afghan forces against international troops, with 12 killed by their supposed allies this month alone. The first 10 were identified as Americans.
The morning attack happened in the eastern Laghman province, said Lt. Col. Hagen Messer of Germany, a spokesman for the alliance. NATO later said in a statement that international troops returned fire and killed the attacker. Afghan officials are investigating the shooting. The majority of troops operating in the Laghman area are American.
The soldiers were travelling in a convoy through Alingar district along with Afghan troops when one of the vehicles struck a roadside bomb, said Noor Rahman, a spokesman for the Laghman police. When the troops dismounted their vehicles, a dispute broke out and one of the Afghans fired on his coalition allies. The NATO forces then called for air support, and helicopters fired on the Afghan soldiers, Rahman said.
He added that the road has been sealed off and access to the area limited.
Insider attacks have been a problem for the U.S.-led military coalition for years, but it has exploded recently into a crisis. There have been at least 33 attacks so far this year, killing 42 coalition members, mostly Americans. Last year there were 21 attacks, killing 35; and in 2010 there were 11 attacks with 20 deaths.