Gunman who killed NATO soldier might have been contract security guard
Los Angeles Times
KABUL — A gunman who may have been a contract security guard killed a member of the international coalition force in southern Afghanistan and in turn was slain, NATO said in a written statement Saturday.
The nationalities of the coalition member and the assailant were not released.
Ghulam Gelani Farahee, deputy police chief of Zabol province, said the shooting took place at a remote location, and that information remained scarce. The man described as a security guard, known as a “local guard,” was contracted by NATO, he said.
The periphery of many NATO facilities, embassies and soft targets such as Western hotels and the headquarters of civic groups, are protected by private or government-employed Afghan security guards.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting. There have been a growing number of attacks in the past several years in which foreign troops were killed by men in Afghan police, army or related security uniforms. The Taliban has encouraged insider strikes, often exploiting them for publicity purposes.
These attacks serve several purposes, analysts said. They sow distrust between the foreign and Afghan militaries when cooperation is increasingly important. Foreign combat troops are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, placing a premium on cooperation, joint patrols and training as Afghans assume more responsibility for their nation’s security.
The Taliban and other militant groups also see insider attacks as a way to hasten the departure of foreign troops. This departure, they believe, will give them the upper hand against the government and other rivals, allowing them to reassert political control. The Taliban, which was pushed out of power in 2001 after the U.S.-led invasion, advocates a state based on Islamic law.
The Taliban, however, claims responsibility for killings it did not plan or participate in, including insider attacks that result from cultural misunderstandings.
Also Saturday, residents of the eastern province of Nangarhar said five civilians had been killed late Friday in a NATO airstrike. Previous civilian deaths have strained relations between Washington and Kabul.
Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar, said the civilians were killed about 10 p.m. near the provincial airport. They were sitting in their garden when a helicopter opened fire and killed them, some news reports said. All were adults, he said.
The U.S.-led coalition said it targeted insurgents and its initial reports indicated there were no civilian casualties.
Baktsh is a special correspondent. Magnier reported from New Delhi.