KABUL: Gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms shot dead two NATO soldiers on a base in the country’s south on Wednesday, the coalition said, in the latest insider attack on foreign troops.
So-called “green-on-blue” attacks — when Afghan soldiers or police turn their guns on international troops — have been a major problem during NATO’s long years fighting alongside Afghan forces.
Wednesday’s attack in the volatile province of Helmand is the first such incident since April, highlighting long-simmering tensions between Afghan and foreign forces.
“Two Resolute Support (NATO) service members died early this morning when two individuals wearing Afghan (military) uniforms opened fire on their vehicle at an (Afghan security forces) compound in Helmand province,” a NATO statement said.
“Resolute Support service members returned fire and killed the shooters,” it added, without revealing the nationalities of the soldiers.
The Taliban did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack, and Western officials say that most such attacks stem from personal grudges and cultural misunderstandings rather than insurgent plots.
The killings have bred fierce mistrust among local and foreign forces even as the rate of such incidents has dropped in recent years.
Most NATO combat troops pulled out of Afghanistan last year but a small contingent remains, including roughly 10,000 American soldiers.
One of the worst insider attacks took place last August when US Major General Harold Greene was killed — the most senior American military officer to die in action overseas since the Vietnam War.
And in April, an American soldier was killed in a firefight between US and Afghan troops in eastern Afghanistan, the first apparent insider attack since Washington announced a delay in troop withdrawals from the country.