Gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms have killed two NATO soldiers in the country's southern Helmand province. The case is the third so-called "green-on-blue" attack of the year.
Tensions between local forces and international troops in Afghanistan intensified on Wednesday after two assailants in Afghan uniforms shot two NATO servicemen dead. The attackers also died in the firing that followed.
"Two Resolute Support [NATO] service members died early this morning when two individuals wearing Afghan [military] uniforms opened fire on their vehicle at an [Afghan security forces] compound in Helmand province," NATO said in a statement.
"Resolute Support service members returned fire and killed the shooters," the statement added. NATO said the attackers wore "Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms." As is typical in such cases, NATO did not immediately release information on the victims' nationalities or identities.
No organization claimed immediate responsibility for the attack and the motive was also not immediately clear. Western officials say such incidents often occur due to personal grudges or cultural misunderstandings, rather than terror plots.
This is the third insider attack this year. In January, US civilian contractors were shot dead in Kabul by an Afghan soldier. Another shooting, also known as a "green-on-blue" attack because of the colors of the soldiers' uniforms, occurred in April when a US serviceman was killed in firing between US and Afghan troops in Afghanistan's east.
The most senior US officer to die in an insider attack was Major General Harold Greene, who was killed in August last year. Greene was also the highest ranking US officer to be killed in combat since the Vietnam War.
NATO ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in December 2014. Around 13,000 soldiers remain to train their Afghan counterparts, and to conduct counterterrorism operations.
mg/msh (AFP, dpa, AP)