4 French troops killed by Afghan soldier in eastern Afghanistan

News Brief – January 20, 2012

An Afghan soldier shot and killed four NATO troops in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, a coalition spokesman said. The shooting is the latest where an Afghan soldier turned his weapon on foreign troops fighting in Afghanistan.

NATO said in a statement that the suspected shooter had been apprehended, but disclosed no further details about the incident.

According to Iran’s Press TV however, the four who were killed were French soldiers. Troops from several nations, including the U.S. and France, are deployed in eastern Afghanistan.

In response to the killing, French President Sarkozy threatened to suspend all training operations for Afghan troops and threatened to pull French forces out of Afghanistan.

“From now on, all the operations of training and combat help by the French army are suspended,” Sarkozy said in Paris.

French forces have recently been training Afghan troops ahead of an expected pullout of the around 4,000 French troops currently there in 2014.

“If the conditions of security are not clearly restored, then the question of an early withdrawal of the French army would arise,” Sarkozy said without elaborating.

Meanwhile, adding to NATO’s growing toll, a NATO helicopter crashed in Helmand Province late Thursday, killing six U.S. soldiers.

Although a coalition statement said there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash, a Taliban spokesman claimed insurgents shot down the Chinook helicopter.

Earlier incidents when Afghan forces opened fire on Coalition forces raised fears over Taliban infiltration of the Afghan security forces as NATO prepares to hand over security operations to their local counterparts. In some cases the attackers were Afghan soldiers who turned on NATO troops. Others involved insurgents dressed in Afghan uniforms.

 Earlier this month, a U.S. soldier was killed by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform at a base in the south of the country.

In April, 2011, eight U.S. troops and an American civilian contractor were killed when a veteran Afghan military pilot opened fire at Kabul airport.

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