Afghan in army uniform fires on foreign troops, kills one

KABUL Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:48am EDT

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KABUL (Reuters) - An man in an Afghan army uniform opened fire on foreign soldiers in an eastern province on Thursday, killing a U.S. serviceman, local officials said, the second such "insider attack" in a week.

Police said the assailant was shot dead in Paktia province, where three U.S. special forces were killed in a similar attack last Saturday.

A local official identified the victim as an American serviceman.

The NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan issued a statement saying: "The scene of the incident is secure and the suspected gunman has been killed."

Paktia is a volatile province that shares a porous border with Pakistan and is considered a hub for the Haqqani network, an insurgent group associated with the Taliban, which spearheads attacks on the Kabul government.

Attacks by Afghan soldiers on their allies in the ISAF force appear to be picking up after a lull in recent months.

The last reported "green on blue" attack before the latest incidents occurred on July 9, when an Afghan soldier at a base in Kandahar shot dead one soldier and wounded three.

The number of attacks hit a record last year, prompting coalition troops to heighten security measures and reduce interaction between foreign and Afghan forces.

The number of incidents this year has fallen sharply. Eight have been reported, with 13 foreign personnel killed.

Insider attacks threaten to further undermine waning support for the war among Western nations sending troops here. Most foreign forces are due to be withdrawn by the end of next year.

(Reporting by Ahmad Sultan, Hamid Shalizi and Jessica Donati; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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