Dec 4, 2010

NATO reveals new details on troop deaths

By Deb Riechmann - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Dec 3, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan border police officer who killed six U.S. soldiers this week in eastern Afghanistan shared tea with his coalition partners before gunning the Americans down during a training drill, NATO said Friday.
The alliance said in a statement that Afghan and coalition investigators have determined that Monday’s shooting happened after the American troops, partnered with Afghan National Army soldiers, climbed a mountain in Nangarhar province for an artillery drill.
After customary tea was served by an Afghan border police unit manning the outpost, the coalition forces fired the first artillery shell as part of the practice drill, NATO said.
Immediately after impact, one of the Afghan police officers opened fire, killing all six U.S. troops.
Two other American soldiers returned fire, killing the officer.
Casualties have been on the rise in Afghanistan since the U.S. deployed an additional 30,000 troops to the country, with all of them in place by this summer. The higher casualty numbers reflect heavier fighting, especially in the south and east, as NATO forces push deep into insurgent strongholds in a bid to help President Hamid Karzai’s government gain control of more areas of the country and reverse the Taliban’s momentum in the nine-year war.
Separately, NATO reported that insurgents killed a coalition service member in southern Afghanistan. NATO did not provide any details about the death or the nationality of the service member killed.
So far in December, four coalition troops have been killed in Afghanistan. Fifty-five died in November and more than 650 have been killed so far this year.
In an operation in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, Afghan and coalition forces captured a weapons trafficker working for the al-Qaida linked Haqqani network. The coalition said the insurgent also led an assassination squad responsible for the kidnapping and killing of important figures in villages throughout Sabari district.
He was the 10th Haqqani leader captured in the province during the past two weeks.
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