REPORTING FROM KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- A man in an Afghan army uniform shot and killed two U.S. troops Thursday and then fled into a crowd of anti-American demonstrators outside their base, Afghan officials said.
The NATO force confirmed that two of its service members had been slain in eastern Afghanistan, without disclosing their nationalities or providing details about the circumstances.
Afghanistan has been racked this week by protests over the apparently inadvertent burning of copies of the Koran, the Muslim holy book. But even before the current outbreak of unrest, turncoat shootings had systematically eroded trust between Western and Afghan forces, with dozens of attacks taking place over the last two years.
The Taliban movement, in a statement, urged more members of the Afghan police and army to rise up against their Western mentors.
Thursday marked the third straight day that Afghans took to the streets to express outrage over the burning of discarded copies of the Muslim holy book at a sprawling U.S.-run military installation north of Kabul. A joint U.S.-Afghan investigation into the incident is underway and Western troops across Afghanistan are undergoing training on the proper handling of religious materials.
At least 13 people have been reported killed in the ongoing unrest, which broke out after Afghan laborers at the Bagram air base discovered late Monday that discarded Korans were being disposed of in the incinerator used to burn trash.
-- Laura King. Special correspondent Aimal Yaqubi contributed.
Photo: Afghans burn a U.S. flag during a protest Thursday in the southern Afghanistan town of Lashkar Gah against the burning of copies of the Koran by U.S. troops. Credit: Sher Khan / EPA.