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Afghan Policeman Fires on NATO Troops

  • VOA News

Officials say an Afghan police officer has opened fire on U.S.-led NATO troops, in the fifth such attack in a week.

A NATO spokesman told reporters that a man wearing civilian clothes fired on international forces in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Monday, but that no coalition service members were killed. The spokesman said an initial investigation indicates the man is an Afghan police officer. The gunman reportedly escaped.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting, the latest in a string of so-called "green on blue" attacks in which Afghan security forces or attackers wearing their uniform turn their weapons on international forces.

At least 37 coalition soldiers have been killed in at least 27 such attacks so far this year, with seven deaths since Friday.

Separately on Monday, Afghan officials say a roadside bomb in the northern province of Takhar killed five people, including a district mayor and provincial peace council member.

District Mayor Abdul Aziz and council member Haji Hashim were killed in the blast Monday in the Ishkamish district.

Authorities blame the attack on the Taliban.

On Monday, the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, James Cunningham, told reporters in Kabul there are signs that the Taliban is considering peace talks with the Afghan government. He said "there are contacts taking place, mostly at this point among Afghans -- Taliban and Afghans."

Afghan officials said this week that they have held secret talks with the a former Taliban military chief, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who has been in Pakistani custody since his arrest in Karachi in 2010.

Ambassador Cunningham did not address the reports directly, but said "there are a number of different elements at play. None of them are yet definitive, but we do see signs there is some rethinking going on among the Taliban about the future choices they face."

Also Monday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai appointed former defense minister Abdul Rahim Wardak as his special advisor. Wardak resigned last week after losing a vote of confidence in parliament for alleged security failures.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.