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2 Americans killed in apparent insider attack in Kabul

Pararescuemen assigned to the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, approach a downed Afghan Air Force pilot during a training mission near Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 6, 2016. A foreign servicemember was killed in an apparent insider attack in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, the Defense Ministry said.

LARRY E. REID JR./U.S. AIR FORCE

By PHILLIP WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 19, 2016

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two Americans, including one servicemember, were killed in an attack near a NATO coalition base in the Afghan capital Wednesday, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said. The Afghan Defense Ministry described it as an insider attack.

The assailant was wearing a military uniform when he attacked a group of foreign soldiers at 11 a.m. near a military base in the Rish Khor area of western Kabul, said Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri. The assailant was killed, the ministry said.

The dead servicemember and civilian had been conducting duties as part of NATO’S train and advise mission, Resolute Support said. One servicemember and two U.S. civilians sustained injuries in the attack and were in stable condition.

A U.S. defense official in Washington, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the attack occurred at Camp Morehead, possibly at one of the base’s entry control points. U.S. forces are not based there; the U.S. team that was attacked was visiting to meet up with and train local forces, the official said.

The Pentagon said it was still looking into reports that the assailant was a member of the Afghan National Army, a second official said.

If confirmed it would be the first “green-on-blue” incident this year, where trained Afghan Army forces in uniform have turned on their U.S. trainers.

The Defense Department withheld identity of those killed pending notification of next of kin.

“Anytime we lose a member of our team, it is deeply painful,” Gen. John W. Nicholson, Resolute Support’s commander, said in a statement. “Our sympathies go out to the families, loved ones and the units of those involved in this incident.”

There have been several so-called green-on-blue attacks in recent years, but such attacks have become much less frequent.

Two Romanian servicemembers were killed in May in the southern city of Kandahar when two attackers dressed as Afghan security officers opened fire on them.

Zubair Babakarkhail in Kabul and Stars and Stripes reporter Tara Copp in Washington contributed to this report.

wellman.phillip@stripes.com
Twitter: @PhillipWellman