KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two more NATO service members died Saturday in an “insider” shooting at the hands of a member of a problem-plagued Afghan village militia, the Western military said.
Attacks by members of the Afghan security forces targeting NATO soldiers have emerged as a serious threat to Western aims to train Afghan police and soldiers to take over responsibility for fighting the Taliban -- an effort that has accelerated as NATO prepares to end its combat role in 2014. At least 47 troops have been killed in such attacks this year, most of them Americans.
Both sides have made urgent attempts to counter the phenomenon, including stepped-up cultural training on both sides and the embedding of intelligence officers in Afghan police and army battalions to try to pinpoint those likely to launch such an attack.
Saturday’s shooting took place in southern Afghanistan, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. It did not identify the nationalities of the Westerners who were killed, or specify the location. The attacker died in return fire, the statement said.
The NATO force said the shooter was believed to have been a member of the Afghan Local Police, a village militia that is mentored by U.S. special-operations forces. Western military officials said earlier this month that training of about 1,000 new recruits to the militia had been suspended while the 16,000-strong force was being re-vetted for ties to the insurgency.
The village force has also been criticized for its links to warlords, and linked to persistent abuses, including rape, abductions and extortion.