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Pentagon: Insider threat in Afghanistan ‘as dangerous as it ever was’

WASHINGTON — The two Americans who were killed Wednesday by Afghan soldiers were members of the Special Forces, the Army announced Friday.

Spc. John Pelham. 22, of Portland, Ore., and Sgt. First Class Roberto Skelt, 41, of York, Fla., were assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) based at Fort Bragg, N.C. Their battalion was deployed to Kapisa province.

Pelham and Skelt were part of a small team of ISAF advisers who were with their Afghan counterparts at the Tagab District Center when two individuals wearing Afghan National Army uniforms opened fire on them with machine guns. Pelham and Skelt were fatally wounded before the shooters were killed by coalition forces, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters.

The Associated Press reported that four other ISAF members were wounded.

The number of insider attacks against international forces in Afghanistan has declined significantly since 2012, when more than 60 foreign troops were killed and many more were injured by their Afghan counterparts. But the Defense Department believes the threat has not diminished since a number of new security measures were implemented to mitigate the problem.

“It’s just as dangerous as it ever was,” Kirby said.

Kirby is not aware of any new force protection measures that have been put in place since Wednesday’s attack.

ISAF is conducting a joint investigation of the incident with the Afghan National Security Forces, Kirby said.

harper.jon@stripes.com
Twitter: @JHarperStripes

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