KABUL, Afghanistan — An insider attack by an Afghan in uniform on Thursday has killed one NATO servicemember, bringing the total to four dead in such attacks in less than a week after a lull of several months.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force reported that the latest attack occurred in eastern Afghanistan when a person wearing an Afghan National Security Force uniform shot at ISAF servicemembers.
The gunman killed one international servicemember before being killed himself, according to an ISAF release. Officials did not identify the nationality of the ISAF servicemember killed. The release did not say whether anyone else was wounded.
On Saturday, three U.S. Special Forces soldiers died when another individual in an ANSF uniform opened fire on them while they were conducting range training in Gardez, in Paktia province, also in eastern Afghanistan. Killed were Staff Sgt. Liam J. Nevins, 32, of Denver, Colo., and Staff Sgt. Timothy R. McGill, 30, of Ramsey, N.J., both members of the 19th Special Forces Group; and Spc. Joshua J. Strickland, 23, of Woodstock, Ga., who was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group.
Afghan officials said the attacker in Gardez was also shot and killed.
The previous reported fatality from an insider attack was July 9 in southern Afghanistan. Thursday’s death brings the total for the year to 12 servicemembers killed in eight so-called “green-on-blue” attacks, according to a count by The Associated Press.
Even with the latest deaths, insider attacks have dropped markedly since 2012, when they hit an all-time high. Sixty-two personnel died in 47 attacks last year compared with 35 killed in 21 attacks a year earlier, according to NATO reports.
Faced with mounting casualties caused by Afghan security forces in 2012, U.S. forces took additional security steps, including separating troops more, assigning armed guards called “Guardian Angels” during all combined training and meetings, and providing more cultural training for U.S. troops.
When insider attacks happen now, coalition forces in the area of the incident routinely enter a “cooling off” period of several days where contact between international troops and Afghan forces is restricted.