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Afghans Deny Intel Agent Killed 2 Americans

  • VOA News

Afghan officials are rejecting that one of their country's intelligence agents carried out a suicide attack late last week, killing two American troops and four Afghans.

A spokesman for Afghanistan's National Security Directorate, Shafiqullah Tahiri, told a news conference Tuesday that reports suggesting otherwise are baseless. But he did say that the bomber was wearing an Afghan intelligence agency uniform.

The remarks contradict statements by NATO and local officials that Saturday's incident in Kandahar province was a so-called "insider attack" launched by an Afghan intelligence officer. Also, a senior member of the NSD told the French news agency on condition of anonymity that the attack was carried out by a member of the Afghan intelligence agency's staff.

Tensions between Washington and Kabul have escalated over insider attacks, in which Afghan security force members, or militants posing as security force members, have turned their guns on coalition troops. Such attacks have killed more than 50 coalition personnel this year.

Meanwhile, NATO officials expressed their "deep regret" for an operation Sunday in Helmand province that they said "may have accidentally killed three innocent Afghan civilians."

In a statement Tuesday, NATO said its officials will work closely with their Afghan partners to determine what happened and why, and they will also meet with the family members of those who died to personally express their condolences.

The operation reportedly was against suspected insurgents laying roadside bombs in Nawa district and did not involve close air support.