Afghan soldier kills French troops

News Brief – December 29, 2011

In what is becoming a familiar story two French members of the coalition forces in Afghanistan have been shot dead by a soldier in the Afghan National Army.

A statement from French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the soldier turned his gun on the two Foreign Legionaires Thursday.

Sarkozy offered his condolences to their loved ones.

This year French forces have suffered their heaviest casualties in Afghanistan since the international operation began there in 2001.

The shooting is the latest in a series of attacks by members of the Afghan national forces against coalition partners that have raised concerns over Taliban infiltration of the Afghan police and army.

On December 26 a gunman wearing an Afghan Army uniform opened fire on Coatlition Forces at an outpost in Bala Boluk district, about 340 miles (700 kilometers) west of Kabul. Several foreign troops were reported wounded in the shooting.

Earlier in April an Afghan military pilot opened fire on NATO forces at a military compound at North Kabul International Airport. Eight NATO soldiers were killed in the shooting along with one foreign military contractor.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed Afghan 10 police officers and wounded another in a district of south-western Helmand province on Thursday. British troops had recently handed over control of the province to Afghan security forces.

The handover was the second phase in a transition that plans to see Afghan forces in control of the entire country by the end of 2014, when the US-led coalition is scheduled to leave.

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility.

The explosion destroyed a police pickup truck as it drove through Zarghun Kalay village in Helmand’s Nad Ali district.