News / Asia

British Soldier Killed in Afghan 'Insider' Attack

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NATO says a British soldier has been killed in Afghanistan by a suspected member of the Afghan National Army.

A NATO spokesman, Brigadier General Gunter Katz, says the shooter turned his gun on international troops at a base in southern Helmand province and opened fire.

General Katz says the attacker was shot in the incident.  Local officials say several British troops were wounded in the attack.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for Monday's shooting.  A spokesman said in an email to Western media outlets the attack was carried out by a militant "infiltrator."  

The NATO command in Afghanistan said the killing Monday was the latest suspected case of what officials call "insider attacks."  Such attacks have been on the rise in Afghanistan, leaving more than 60 foreign troops dead in 2012.

Monday's attack also came as Afghan President Hamid Karzai was preparing for talks in Washington later this week with U.S. President Barack Obama on the long-term security agreement between the two nations.

Security in Afghanistan is of rising concern as U.S. and international forces draw down their troops. Most NATO troops are set to depart Afghanistan by 2014. Some U.S. forces are scheduled to remain after that, but details have yet to be worked out.

South Asia analyst Nazif Shahrani of Indiana University says that Karzai might ask Obama for more jurisdiction over the behavior of U.S. troops when the two leaders meet. Karzai has said he supports keeping a U.S. force there after 2014, but contentious details still need to be worked out.

"He [Karzai] might ask that U.S. forces have to be subject to the laws of Afghanistan, and that's of course something that has always been unacceptable to the United States, and if they could overcome that, maybe there will be some kind of a deal," he said. "Otherwise, it's very difficult to say at this point."

Shahrani says he does not expect a large number of U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan after the NATO troops leave in 2014, because of the poor economic situation in the United States.

"I've seen projections as low as 3,000 up to 20,000," he added. "I think the hunch is that it would probably be in smaller numbers rather than the larger ones."

Shahrani says leaving a large U.S. force in Afghanistan might be difficult to justify to the American people.

Karzai arrives in the U.S. on Tuesday and is scheduled to meet with President Obama on Friday.

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