Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Afghan 'insider' gunman is killed

Former Taliban militants turning in their weapons during an amnesty day (AP)

An Afghan soldier lauded by the Taliban for killing an American soldier during an insider attack has himself been killed in a raid.

Nato identified him as Mahmood and said that he and an accomplice, identified only as Rashid, died in last Wednesday's operation in eastern Kunar province's Ghaziabad district. No other details were given.

Mahmood was wanted for the May 11 killing of US Army 1st Lt. Alejo Thompson on a base in Kunar. The attack also wounded two American soldiers. Mahmood, in his early 20's and who went only by one name later fled.

Nato said: "Rashid was Mahmood's associate and a former Afghan National Army soldier who facilitated and assisted with insider attack planning and execution."

After he fled, a man named Mahmood was highlighted in a Taliban video that showed him being welcomed as a hero while entering an insurgent camp. He was shown in his Afghan army uniform, his US-made M-16 assault rifle, and with garlands of flowers around his neck.

The Taliban claimed he had defected to their side.

Killings by uniformed Afghans of foreign soldiers and civilians rose dramatically last year. Insider attacks killed 61 coalition personnel in 45 incidents last year, compared to 35 killed in 21 attacks a year earlier. T

In some cases, militants have donned Afghan army or police uniforms to attack foreign troops. And a number of attacks have also been carried out by members of Afghan security forces against their own comrades.

Insider attacks have dropped sharply after Nato forces took steps to mitigate them, including having armed "guardian angels" looking over troops as they sleep.

There has been only one insider attack so far this year, the January 7 killing of a British soldier in southern Helmand province by a man in an Afghan army uniform.

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