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Afghan killer soldier to be hanged

An Afghan soldier has been sentenced to death for killing four French soldiers during a joint training and operation in eastern Afghanistan.

A military court in Kabul ordered the soldier, Abdul Sabor, to be hanged. The sentence can be appealed against. It is unclear when the soldier was convicted of the crime.

The four French soldiers were killed on January 20 in Tagab district of Kapisa province. A month earlier, another Afghan soldier killed two members of the French Foreign Legion on December 29.

The casualties prompted France's new president Francois Hollande to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan earlier than planned.

The US-led military coalition is not ending its combat mission until the end of 2014. France will pull 2,000 French combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and leave around 1,400 soldiers behind to help with training and logistics.

The death of the French troops was one of the latest cases of the so-called "green-on-blue" attacks in which Afghan soldiers, or insurgents disguised in their uniforms, turn their weapons on coalition forces.

Such attacks have fuelled distrust between US and other foreign troops and their Afghan partners. Last year there were a total of 21 "green-on-blue" attacks, killing 35 coalition service members, according to Nato figures. That compares with 11 fatal attacks and 20 deaths the previous year. In 2007 and 2008 there were a combined total of four attacks and four deaths.

Besides targeting foreign forces, insurgents in Afghanistan have stepped up attacks on political and government figures. On Monday, insurgents twice ambushed the convoy of Nuristan provincial governor Tamim Nuristani, but he escaped unharmed both times, said provincial spokesman Mohammad Zareen.

And on Saturday, a suicide bomber blew himself up among guests at a wedding hall in northern Afghanistan, killing 23 people, including a prominent ex-Uzbek warlord-turned-politician who was the father of the bride. Three Afghan security force officials were among those killed. The day before, two government officials were assassinated - the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs director in Laghman province and the mayor of Shindand district in Herat province

President Hamid Karzai is trying to negotiate a peace settlement with the Taliban, but he warned insurgents that their attacks on civilians would not be forgotten by the Afghan people.


From Belfast Telegraph