Afghan sol­dier turns his gun on 2 civil­ian Amer­i­can train­ers

Austin American-Statesman - - WEDNESDAY BRIEFING -

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.

Paul J. Richards

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.

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