x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Afghan soldier kills 2 British troops

Latest in a series of Afghan soldiers turning on foreign comrades.

KABUL // An Afghan soldier shot and killed two British troops yesterday at a Nato coalition base in southern Afghanistan before being gunned down by international forces, officials said.

The incident was the latest in a string of so-called "green on blue" attacks in which Afghan security forces have turned their guns on their international colleagues or mentors.

Such attacks have become increasingly common over the past year, particularly since the burning of Qurans at a US base in February.

Fifteen Nato service members, including eight Americans, have been killed by Afghan security officials or militants disguised in their uniforms so far this year.

Yesterday's shooting occurred around 11am in front of the main gate of a joint civilian-military base in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand province, the governor's office said.

Ghulam Farooq Parwani, deputy commander of the Afghan National Army in Helmand, said the shooter was from the eastern Nangarhar province and had been in the army for four years.

The Afghan soldier arrived at the gate of the base in an army vehicle. He was able to get close to the British troops by claiming that he had been assigned to provide security for a delegation of government officials from Kabul who were visiting the base yesterday, according to Mr Parwani.

"He got close to the foreign troops - three or four metres - and he opened fire," Cmdr Parwani said. "Then the foreign troops killed him."

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the shooter was an Afghan soldier who was in close contact with insurgents and had notified the Taliban of his planned attack before carrying it out.

Since 2007, Afghan security forces have killed more than 75 Nato service members and wounded more than 110 others, according to the Pentagon. More than 75 per cent of the attacks have occurred in the past two years.

A western official in southern Afghanistan confirmed that the attack happened at the main Nato base in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province but declined to give further information.