Killer of six American servicemen: Afghan gunman had no criminal background
KABUL: The Afghan border policeman who killed six American service members during a training mission had been on the force for three years and had no criminal background, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday.
The gunman, who was killed in Monday's shootout, opened fire as the group was on its way to shooting practice in Nangarhar province near the Pakistan border, Interior Minister Bismullah Mohammadi told reporters.
He also has a brother on the force, the minister said.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the officer had enlisted as a sleeper agent in order to have an opportunity to kill foreigners.
The bloodshed - which appeared to be the deadliest attack of its kind in at least two years - underscored one of the risks in a U.S.-led program to train enough recruits to turn over the lead for security to Afghan forces by 2014.
Attacks on NATO troops by Afghan policemen or soldiers, although still rare, have increased as the coalition has accelerated the program.
Other problems with the rapidly growing security forces include drug use, widespread illiteracy and high rates of attrition.
Also Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said Afghan gunmen attacked a construction company in Kabul province, wounding one security guard and kidnapping nine others in the mountainous Sarobi district, about 27 miles (45 kilometers) east of the capital, Kabul. Nine other guards escaped the attack, which happened Monday, said Zemeri Bashary, an Interior Ministry spokesman. The gunmen also seized several rifles.
In other violence, an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan killed a NATO service member on Tuesday, the military coalition said. The victim was not immediately identified.
A look at attacks in which Afghanistan security forces turned on their NATO counterparts: "Nov. 29: An Afghan border police officer opened fire on NATO troops during a training mission in Nangarhar province, killing six NATO service members before he was shot dead.
"July 20: Afghan army sergeant got into an argument at a shooting range in northern Afghanistan's Balkh province and shot dead two American civilian trainers before being killed. Another Afghan soldier was killed in the crossfire.
"July 13: Afghan soldier stationed in the south killed three British troopers, including the company commander, with gunfire and a rocket-propelled grenade in the middle of the night in Helmand province.
"Nov. 2, 2009: Afghan policeman killed five British soldiers at a checkpoint in Helmand province.
" Oct. 2, 2009: Afghan policeman on patrol with U.S. soldiers fired on the Americans, killing two, in Wardak province.
"Oct. 16, 2008, a policeman hurled a grenade and opened fire on a U.S. foot patrol, killing one soldier in Paktika province.
"Sept. 29, 2008, an officer opened fire at a Paktia police station, killing a U.S. soldier and wounding three before he was fatally shot. A NATO official called it "the first incident of its kind."
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, commonly known as Afghanistan is a landlocked and mountainous country in south-central Asia. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east,[note] Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast.
The territories now comprising Afghanistan have been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as 50,000 BCE.
Urban civilization may have begun in the area as early as 3000 to 2000 BC. -Ap
CAIRO: Protesters chant "Fraud" as they take part in a small demonstration of about 100 opposition activists in downtown Cairo, Egypt. -Ap