NATO disasters stack up in Afghanistan
More 'insider' slayings, as well as a NATO airstrike that killed eight women, follow a Taliban attack that destroyed more than $150 million worth of equipment.
In a disastrous day for the NATO force in Afghanistan, four American troops were gunned down Sunday by Afghan police, a U.S. airstrike killed eight Afghan women foraging for fuel on a rural hillside, and military officials disclosed that a Taliban strike on a southern base had destroyed more than $150 million worth of planes and equipment — in money terms, by far the costliest single insurgent attack in 11 years of warfare.
The confluence of events underscored some of the conflict's most damaging trends: an unrelenting tide of "insider" attacks, in which Afghan forces turn their weapons on coalition allies; the daily loss of civilian lives to war's ravages; and the continuing ability of insurgent forces to inflict disproportionate havoc on the far more powerful Western military.
The lethal encounter between U.S. forces and Afghan police took place soon after midnight in Zabol province in the south, military and Afghan officials said. The provincial governor, Mohammad Ashraf Naseri, said the shooting took place at a joint base in Zabol's Mezan district.
The NATO force confirmed the deaths without disclosing the nationality, but U.S. officials said the troops were American. The killings came less than 24 hours after two British soldiers were gunned down by an Afghan policeman and brought to 51 the number of Western service members killed this year by Afghan security forces.