Afghan soldier turns his gun on 2 civilian American trainers
KABUL, Afghanistan — Seemingly routine marksmanship training went fatally wrong Tuesday when an Afghan army sergeant turned his weapon on an American trainer. When the shooting was over, the sergeant, two civilian American trainers and an Afghan soldier lay dead.
On a day when world diplomats gathered in Kabul for an international conference intended to further a transition to Afghan security responsibility, the violence showed the risks that can come with a rapid expansion of Afghan military forces. The shooting comes just one week after another rogue Afghan soldier killed three British soldiers at a base in Helmand province.
The shooting, which also wounded a NATO soldier, occurred at a training center for Afghan soldiers near the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, according to defense officials.
Brig. Gen. Gary Patton, the deputy commander for the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, said that he was uncertain about the motives of the Afghan sergeant but that the military considered it “an isolated incident.”
An Afghan Ministry of Defense official said on condition of anonymity that the fight began with an argument between an Afghan sergeant and trainer named Jaffar and one of the U.S. trainers. According to the official, the Afghan sergeant shot two American trainers; then a third American trainer shot and killed the Afghan sergeant as well as another Afghan soldier, who was a bystander. The NATO soldier was wounded in the crossfire.
Karzai reaffirms 2014 goal
The international community renewed its commitment to Afghanistan on Tuesday in exchange for a pledge by President Hamid Karzai to implement promised legal, electoral and economic reforms within specific timelines.
A communiqué agreed to by Karzai and representatives of about 70 nations at the daylong gathering in Kabul reiterated a long list of anti-corruption measures and governance improvements to be implemented within three months to two years.
Karzai gained international endorsement for his pledge to have Afghan forces to take security responsibility throughout the country by 2014, a promise he first made last year.
“This is a national objective we have to fulfill and we must,” Karzai said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to allay concerns about the planned U.S. military drawdown.
“We have no intention of abandoning our long-term mission of achieving a stable, secure, peaceful Afghanistan. Too many nations — especially Afghanistan — have suffered too many losses to see this country slide backward,” she said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greet merchants as they tour a crafts bazaar Tuesday in the Afghan capital of Kabul.