A firefight which erupted when an Afghan special forces soldier turned his weapon on his U.S. allies came while the men were on a night raid together and killed a total of four, Afghan police said Friday.
Afghan forces were put in charge of the controversial night raids earlier this month after government protests that international troops were violating the sanctity of Afghan homes as they targeted Taliban insurgents.
An American soldier, two Afghan troops and an interpreter died in the latest in a series of so-called green-on-blue attacks, the district police chief of Shah Wali Kot in Kandahar province, Pacha Khan, told AFP.
U.S. forces said in an initial statement only that one U.S.-led coalition soldier was killed when a man in an Afghan army uniform opened fire late on Wednesday, and that the shooter was killed by return fire.
“They were taking part in a night raid,” said Khan. “Probably Afghan and U.S. forces had an argument that triggered the incident.
“As a result, an Afghan special forces member opens fire and kills one U.S. special forces member along with an interpreter,” he said, adding that return fire killed two Afghan soldiers.
The transfer of control of night raids to Afghan forces helped pave the way for the signing of a treaty covering relations between Afghanistan and the U.S. after NATO forces pull out by the end of 2014.
The police version of the incident came as news emerged of yet another green-on-blue attack, in which two Afghan policemen opened fire on U.S. troops at a military post in Kandahar.
“Two Afghan policemen opened fire on U.S. soldiers in a military post in Zherai district of Kandahar province late Wednesday,” the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) press office in southern Afghanistan told AFP.
Both Afghans were killed in return fire, while there were no ISAF casualties, a spokesman said.
The shootings are the latest in an increasing number of attacks in which Afghan soldiers have turned their weapons against NATO troops helping Kabul fight a decade-long insurgency by hardline Taliban Islamists.
Some of the attacks are claimed by the Taliban, who say they have infiltrated Afghan army ranks, but many are attributed to cultural differences and antagonism between the allied forces.