ISLAMABAD — A man dressed in an Afghan military uniform on Saturday shot and killed three Americans. It is the latest in a number of so-called “insider attacks” that have threatened to undermine the trust between coalition forces and their Afghan counterparts.
The International Security Assistance Force says the attack took place in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika. A man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against coalition troops, killing two U.S. soldiers and one U.S. civilian.
ISAF spokesman Lieutenant Quenton Roehricht says the attack was one of two incidents that took place Saturday. In the second, an Italian soldier was killed.
“I can confirm that at the Paktika incident those killed were Americans," said Roehricht. "In the second incident in Farah, we can confirm an International Security Assistance Force service member was killed following a grenade attack in western Afghanistan today. I can confirm for that incident that the service member killed was an Italian.”
Insider attack cases, where those in Afghan military or in police uniform turn their guns against their international counterparts, have become increasingly frequent.
The attacks threaten to undermine trust between the forces as coalition troops hand over control to Afghan security forces ahead of the final U.S.-led combat troop withdrawal in 2014.
In March, two insider-attacks in eastern Afghanistan left two U.S. soldiers and one NATO civilian contractor dead.
Last year, insider attacks led NATO forces to put a temporary halt on joint international-Afghan operations.
The attacks on Saturday come just two days after seven Georgian soldiers were killed in a suicide attack in southern Helmand province.
Taliban insurgents ramped up their attacks in their annual spring offensive, targeting international forces across the country. Many Afghan civilians, including children have died in the offensive.
According to a June 3 statement by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, some 125 civilians were killed and almost 290 injured in the previous two weeks alone. The United Nations said that represented a 24 percent increase in civilian casualties over the same period last year.
Afghan forces are expected to take control of security responsibilities ahead of the withdrawal of foreign troops next year.