KABUL (Reuters) - An Afghan man wearing an Afghan army uniform shot at U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least one serviceman on Sunday, local officials and the NATO-led coalition said.
The so-called “insider attack” in Paktika province is the fourth in less than a month and is likely to strain already tense ties between coalition troops and their allies, with most foreign troops scheduled to withdraw by the end of next year.
A Reuters tally shows Sunday’s incident was the tenth this year, and took the death toll of foreign personnel to 15.
“A man wearing an Afghan army uniform shot at Americans in Sharana city (the provincial capital) near the governor’s office,” said an Afghan official, adding that two soldiers had been hit by the gunfire.
The NATO-led coalition confirmed one soldier had been shot by a man in security forces uniform, but did not comment on his nationality or whether the Afghan was wearing a army uniform.
Insider attacks threaten to further undermine waning support for the war among Western nations sending troops to Afghanistan.
A similar flurry of attacks last year prompted the NATO-led force to briefly suspend all joint activities and take steps to curb interaction between foreign and Afghan troops.
That has cut down the number of incidents, but some soldiers say the measures have further eroded the hard-won trust painstakingly nurtured between the allies over more than 12 years of war.
Late on Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced they had reached preliminary agreement on a bilateral security pact that now depends on the approval of Afghanistan’s tribal leaders.
Reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Writing by Jessica Donati; Editing by Clarence Fernandez