The U.S.-led NATO coalition in Afghanistan reports that a man dressed in the uniform of the Afghan National Army killed at least one NATO soldier, having opened fire on May 6. The NATO troops immediately returned fire and killed the presumed Afghan soldier.

This is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan by shooters dressed in Afghan army uniform. Elsewhere in the embattled Central Asian country, another NATO troop was killed in a bomb explosion in eastern Afghanistan on the same day. So far no details have been released.

On May 4, two Taliban commanders and three troops were killed in fighting with security forces. NATO says one of the men was a senior Taliban commander who planned and organized roadside bombings and other attacks against Afghan and coalition forces throughout Faryab province. A subordinate Taliban commander, who was also a judge in the insurgent group, was killed. He had been working to impose Muslim religious law 'sharia' and punishment on fellow Afghans in the area.

The threat posed by Afghans in uniform to American and other NATO forces who are trying to train and strengthen Afghan security forces has grown more deadly.

NATO reports each time an American or other foreign soldier is killed by an Afghan in uniform, but under-reports the number of overall attacks. The Associated Press reported earlier this month that the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, does not report attacks in which the Afghan merely wounds or fails to connect with his NATO target. It does not report the wounding of NATO forces who were attacked alongside those who were killed.

So far this year there have been 18 attacks killing 11 soldiers, compared to 21 last year killing 35 coalition service members, according to NATO figures. In 2010, there were 11 fatal attacks and 20 deaths. In 2007 and 2008 there were a combined total of four attacks and four deaths. In most cases, says the U.S. military, Afghans in uniform turn their guns on their supposed allies not out of sympathy for the Taliban or on orders from insurgents, but as a result of personal grievances against the coalition. Also on May 6, a NATO soldier was killed by a bomb in eastern Afghanistan. Initially, NATO reported three personnel were killed in the attack, but later corrected its statement.




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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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