KABUL A U.S. civilian shot dead an Afghan civilian who tried to set fire to another American on Tuesday, the U.S. military said.
At least 4,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan this year, some 1,000 of them civilians. It is still rare though for foreign civilians to be directly engaged in the conflict.
The shooting occurred after an altercation, a U.S. military statement said.
"Reports indicate the local national was shot after pouring and igniting a flammable liquid on another U.S. civilian. The civilian sustained serious burns and was transported to the nearest coalition forces medical facility for treatment," it said.
Taliban insurgents said children had poured petrol on a female foreign soldier and set fire to her while she was searching homes in the town of Maiwand in the southern province of Kandahar.
"The soldier caught fire immediately after petrol was poured on her and then explosions were set off because of the ammunition on her," the Taliban said on their Web site.
"As a result the female soldier was killed instantly and a large number of other foreign soldiers were wounded," it said.
It was not possible to verify the conflicting reports, but the Taliban frequently exaggerate foreign troop casualties.
(Writing by Jon Hemming; Editing by David Fox)