Afghan officials report that two Americans and three Afghans were killed Sturday during an incident at a checkpoint of the Afghan National Army in the Said Abad district of Afghanistan, west of Kabul.
The deaths occurred after a 'missunderstanding' between U.S. soldiers and Afghan nationals serving alongside them. Shahidullah Shahid, the spokesman for the governor in Wardak, said the deaths came “after a clash ensued between two sides following a misunderstanding.”
It is thought that one of the American's killed was a civilian and the other a member of the U.S. armed forces. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force confirmed that there were fatalities including some deaths from both UN forces and Afghan forces. They confirmed that they were investingating the killings to establish if they were indeed the result of a 'green on blue' incident.
It would be another setback in realtions between Afghan national forces and U.N. forces if this is indeed another 'insider' attack coming only a couple of days after 'joint operations' were said to be returning to normal.
This brings American forces deaths to 2,000 and rising across the 11-year war in Afghanistan. The United states hopes to withdraw its fighting troops by the end of 2014 and hand over to the Afghan allies that they have been training and fighting alongside. This becomes increasingly difficult to see happening in the way envisaged as trust between local troops and NATO troops breaks down due to these insider type attacks.
Some suggest that it could actually speed up the process of withdrawal but the majority feel that these attacks will sadly prolong U.S. involvement as they will not want to risk leaving Afghanistan to perhaps becoming run by Islamic insurgent groups.
Although U.N. and NATO officials are so far only confirming deaths reather than the details of how they took place Afghan officials report tha a pitched battle took place between the two allies leading to the deaths and so far unconfirmed other casualities.
Afghan officials are being less coy with Provincial Police Chief Abdul Qayoum Baqizoi saying the that an Afghan soldier opened fire on American colleagues at a checkpoint. He said “We still don’t have a clear picture of what happened"
The deaths, if confirmed as a "green-on-blue" attack, will bring the total coalition deaths due to such attacks to 53.