A gunman wearing an Afghan uniform turned his weapon against foreign trainers working for NATO in the western province of Herat on Sunday, killing three, in a grim 24 hours for the coalition which also saw five NATO soldiers killed.
The latest rogue shooting by an Afghan in a police or army uniform happened at a regional training centre in the relatively peaceful western province near Afghanistan’s border with Iran, which is normally patrolled by Italian forces.
“An individual wearing an Afghan National Security Force uniform turned his weapon against ISAF contracted civilian employees in western Afghanistan today, killing three,” a spokesman for the NATO-led coalition said, adding that an unknown number of other people had been wounded.
So-called green on blue shootings, in which Afghan police or soldiers turn their guns on their Western mentors, have seriously eroded trust between the allies as NATO combat soldiers prepare to handover to Afghan forces by 2014, after which most foreign forces will leave the country.
Camp Arena, the main Italian base near Herat City, the provincial headquarters, was locked down after the shooting while the search for the rogue shooter was conducted. The base is home to 2,000 Italian soldiers and 400 Spanish troops.
Violence in Afghanistan is at its fiercest since U.S.-led Afghan troops overthrew the Taliban government in 2001. Insurgents have extended their reach from traditional strongholds in southern and eastern areas to parts of the country once considered relatively safe.
In a separate incident, the Taliban executed five Afghan civilians kidnapped on Saturday who worked for NATO in Wardak province, close to the capital Kabul, a statement from the provincial governor given to Afghanistan’s Tolo TV station said.
The killings followed the public execution of a woman several weeks ago for adultery, an act that prompted international outrage and led President Hamid Karzai to admit his government had been unable to deliver effective justice for many Afghans.