Afghan Policeman Kills Two US Troops in Insider Attack

Officials Offer Few Details on Uruzgan Province Killings

A man in an Afghan police uniform attacked and killed two US soldiers today in the Uruzgan Province in the latest apparent “green-on-blue” attack in Afghanistan. Officials have yet to confirm the attacker’s identity, and don’t know if he was an actual policeman or just someone who stole a uniform.

The attacker approached the soldiers pre-dawn as they were returning from a patrol, then opened fire killing two before escaping into the countryside. There was no indication what caused the incident, as many such shootings have been retaliation for arguments.

If confirmed as an “insider” attack this would be 55 NATO soldiers killed so far this year in such attacks, by far the most of any single year in the 11+ year occupation of Afghanistan.

Taliban officials have regularly claimed credit for such attacks, though how many they are actually responsible for is a matter of some dispute. Taliban leader Mullah Omar released a statement yesterday urging his fighters to infiltrate the Afghan security forces to launch more such attacks.

by Jason Ditz

NATO ‘Regrets’ Killing Children in Southern Afghan Attack

Backs Off Speculation Kids Might Have Been Taliban

NATO has issued a statement today expressing “deep regret” for the killing of three children in the Helmand Province over the weekend, saying that the deaths were “accidental” and promising further investigation. They also claimed two actual Taliban were killed

The comments were a stark contrast to initial NATO comments about the killings, in which they insisted that even though the three slain were between 8 and 12 years old, all of them were “Taliban.”

Family members say the children were sent out to gather dung, which is dried and used as fuel during the harsh winters in mountainous Afghanistan. Local tribal leaders confirmed bags of the dung were found at the attack site.

What wasn’t found at the site were the two “Taliban” supposedly killed in the attack, and while provincial officials echoed NATO’s claim that two Taliban in the area were killed, locals insist they never saw any bodies except for the three children.

 by Jason Ditz

NATO Airstrike Kills Three Afghan Children

NATO officials said they were targeting insurgents and would look into claims that children were killed

A NATO airstrike killed three children in Afghanistan‘s Helmand province on Sunday, Afghan officials said Monday.

“Two Taliban mine-planters were identified and targeted by ISAF from the air and killed,” district police chief Ahmad Shah Khan told AFP. ”Three children, two boys and a girl, who were nearby collecting firewood were also killed,” Khan added.

The claim that two insurgents and three children were killed was corroborated by another Afghan official in Helmand.

The US-led coalition in Afghanistan confirmed the airstrike took place and said three insurgents were killed, but that it would investigate the claims that children were killed.

NATO airstrikes rather frequently kill innocent Afghan children and other civilians in a war that a large segment across the American political spectrum now believes is useless and a failure.

The NATO response to killing innocents in airstrikes is typically to claim an investigation has started, or that they formally apologize. No accountability for the loss of life is forced on the military occupiers who are needlessly killing Afghans.

Inspector General: Contractor’s Fraud Puts Troops at Risk From IEDs

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has issued a safety alert to US commanders today cautioning that because of potentially “significant contract fraud” a deal to protect troops from IEDs.

According to their preliminary investigation, the unnamed contractor was paid $361,680 to install gratings on culverts along Afghan highways to prevent insurgents from installing IEDs underneath the highways.

In many cases, the gratings were never installed in the first place. When they were, many were just defective and easy to circumvent. The gratings, called “culvert denial systems,” don’t deny anyone.

Officials conceded that it was unusual to put out a safety alert before the investigation had completed, but insisted the seriousness of the allegations warranted putting commanders on  alert about the threat.

Afghan Soldier Shoots Two US Soldiers in Faryab Province

Second ‘Green-on-Blue’ Attack in Two Days

Marking the second “green-on-blue” attack in the past two days, an Afghan soldiers has turned his gun on NATO soldiers, injuring two US soldiers before being killed himself in return fire.

Afghan officials familiar with the incident say that the soldier, who has not been named, was carrying out training missions with the US forces in Faryab Province. There was no indication of an argument before the shooting, but the Taliban claimed credit for it.

Just yesterday, an Afghan policeman attacked and killed three US civilian contractors, who were also involved in a training mission in the Herat Province. An Afghan translator and an unnamed foreign adviser were also wounded.

Such attacks have become increasingly common over the past year, and while a few have involved Taliban “infiltrators” most of them have been the result of arguments or disagreements with the occupation forces.

By Jason Ditz

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