By Frank James
There's been another in a worrying series of attacks by members of the Afghan security forces on soldiers from the U.S. and its NATO allies, with an Afghan soldier killing an American and wounding two Italians at an Army base in western Afghanistan.
As Reuters reports:
The shooting is the latest in a string of such incidents, at a time when Western countries are pouring resources into training Afghan soldiers and police to fight the Taliban insurgency.
"The soldier opened fire on the two Italians and one American in a joint Afghan and foreign base," General Khair Mohammad Khawari, a senior officer in western Afghanistan, told Reuters.
"Two Italian soldiers were wounded, one American soldier was killed," Khawari said, adding that the Afghan soldier had been wounded when NATO forces returned fire and was now in hospital.
In November, an Afghan policeman killed five British soldiers in Helmand province. In October, another Afghan policeman killled two soldiers.
The killings have raised questions about the infiltration of Afghan security forces by the Taliban.
And they can only complicate the U.S. goal of training Afghan security forces to takeover the mission of protecting the populace.
There's some evidence that grievances born of cultural misunderstandings may be behind some shootings.
An excerpt from an October Associated Press story about one non-fatal shooting illustrates that point:
Most recently, in Kabul, an American service member and an Afghan police officer argued because the American was drinking water in front of police during the Ramadan fast, prompting the police officer to shoot the American. Other American troops responded and seriously wounded the Afghan.