KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan policeman on patrol with U.S. soldiers opened fire on the Americans, killing two of them before fleeing, officials said Saturday, raising questions about discipline in the ranks of the Afghan forces and possible infiltration by insurgents.
Training and operating jointly with Afghan police and soldiers is key to the U.S. strategy of dealing with the spreading Taliban-led insurgency and, ultimately, allowing international forces to leave Afghanistan. But Afghan forces have periodically turned their guns on international soldiers.
The U.S. military said two American troops were killed by “an individual wearing an ANP (Afghan National Police) uniform” in Wardak province on Friday. Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Wardak provincial governor, said the policeman fired on the Americans while they were patrolling together Friday night, killing two and injuring two.
Halim Fidai, governor of Wardak, said two people who recommended the alleged assailant for his job were in custody for questioning. Fidai also said a joint team of American and Afghan officials was investigating the attack, interviewing both the American soldiers and the Afghans who had been on the patrol to learn what happened and how the gunman escaped.
A third U.S. service member died Friday of wounds from a bomb attack in Wardak, the province neighboring Kabul, the day before.