An Afghan soldier turned his gun on American troops at a checkpoint in the country's east, killing two Americans and at least two fellow members of Afghanistan's army in a shooting that marked both the continuance of a disturbing trend of insider attacks and the 2,000th US troop death in the long-running war, officials said today. The string of insider attacks is one of the greatest threats to NATO's mission in the country, endangering a partnership key to withdrawing international troops.
Yesterday's shooting took place at an Afghan army checkpoint just outside a joint US-Afghan base in Wardak province. "Initial reports indicate that a misunderstanding happened between Afghan army soldiers and American soldiers," said a provincial spokesman. NATO forces announced the assault early today, saying only that it was "suspected insider attack" and that a NATO servicemember and civilian contractor were killed. So-called "green on blue" attacks have killed more than 50 foreign troops so far this year, eroding the trust between coalition forces and their Afghan partners. The number of American military dead reflects an AP count of troops killed in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion on Oct. 7, 2001.