In the first so-called “insider attack” to target NATO troops since they ended their combat mission at the start of the year, an Afghan soldier shot and killed a US soldier and wounded several others yesterday before being shot dead. The shooting happened after Afghan provincial leaders met a US Embassy official at the compound of the Nangarhar provincial governor in the city of Jalalabad. “Right after the US official had left, suddenly an Afghan army soldier opened fire on the US soldiers who were present in the compound,” says the police chief for eastern Nangarhar province. The American troops returned fire, killing the Afghan soldier. A Pentagon spokeswoman says several US troops were wounded in the attack.
The motive for the soldier’s attack was not immediately known and no group claimed responsibility. In past attacks, Taliban insurgents have been known to wear Afghan police or military uniforms to stage attacks on the international troops. Others have opened fire apparently on their own accord, like an Afghan soldier who last year killed Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, the highest-ranked US officer to be slain in combat since 1970 in the Vietnam War. The last incident in which an American soldier was killed in Afghanistan was on Dec. 13, when a roadside bombing killed two US troops in Parwan province. (Last month, President Obama agreed to slow down the withdrawal of US troops.)