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Two NATO troops shot dead Monday in northern Afghanistan by an apparent Afghan border policeman were U.S. soldiers, according to Afghan authorities.

The two were involved in training the Afghan Border Police at a checkpoint in Maymana district, the capital of Faryab province, according to news reports.

Abdul Sattar Bariz, deputy governor of the province, said the two Americans were shot by one of the Afghan police, according to The New York Times.

The shooter fled, according to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. An investigation is under way.

NATO declined to confirm the dead troops’ nationalities.

The shooting came as protests erupted across Afghanistan — some of them deadly — for the fourth day against a Florida pastor’s burning of the Quran. The protests started Friday in Mazar-i-Sharif, also in the north, and protesters there overran a U.N. compound, killing three U.N. staff members and four Nepalese guards. The Taliban took credit for that.

It is not known whether the shootings were related.

Insurgent attacks have increased in the north, a formerly relatively peaceful region without a large presence of Pashtuns, who make up the majority of the Taliban.

But attacks by Afghan security forces on NATO troops have also been increasing.

In February, an Afghan soldier fired on German troops in Baghlan province, also in the north of the country, and killed three German soldiers. He was killed by return fire.

And in November, an Afghan border police officer shot and killed six U.S. soldiers in eastern Nangarhar province before he was shot dead.

Just 12 coalition troops have died in Faryab since 2001, according to icasualties.org, though seven of those deaths came last year. Two were Americans and five were Norwegians, according to the website.

Norway has a provincial reconstruction team in Maymana.

montgomeryn@estripes.osd.mil

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