Three U.S. Marines have been shot dead by an Afghan worker on a military base in southern Afghanistan, in a deadly 24 hours during which six American soldiers were killed in rogue attacks.
The shooting took place on Friday night in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, where three U.S. special forces soldiers were killed by an Afghan policeman and his comrades earlier in the day.
In the earlier incident, an Afghan police commander opened fire on the U.S. service members after inviting them to a Ramadan breakfast to discuss security.
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The three Marines were shot by a base employee who turned a gun on them, in the third rogue attack in four days. Foreign military sources said the man had not been wearing a uniform and it was unclear how he got hold of the weapon.(Full story here).
The gunman had been detained and a joint Afghan-NATO investigation team was reviewing security and looking into the reason for the attack.
The three men killed early Friday morning were all Marine Corps special operations forces and appeared to have been killed in a planned attack by rogue Afghan forces. NATO calls such incidents green on blue attacks.
The NATO force says there have been 26 such attacks on foreign troops since January in which 34 people have been killed. Last year, there were 21 attacks in which 35 people were killed.
But a coalition spokesman said the killings by the Afghan worker would not be included in that tally as it did not involve a member of the Afghan security forces.
Green on blue shootings, in which Afghan police or soldiers turn their guns on their Western colleagues, have seriously eroded trust between the allies as NATO combat soldiers prepare to hand over to Afghan forces by 2014, after which most foreign forces will leave the country.
Last year, a U.S. Army team led by a behavioral scientist produced a 70-page survey that revealed both Afghan and American soldiers hold disturbingly negative perceptions of the other.
According to the survey, many Afghan security personnel found U.S. troops 'extremely arrogant, bullying and unwilling to listen to their advice' and sometimes lacking concern about Afghans' safety in combat. They accused the Americans of ignoring female privacy and using denigrating names for Afghans.
American troops, in turn, often accused Afghan troops and police of 'pervasive illicit drug use, massive thievery, personal instability, dishonesty, no integrity,' the survey, which has been downplayed by U.S. military officials, said.