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Attack on base kills US soldier

A man dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire Tuesday on foreign troops at a military base, killing at least one U.S. soldier and wounding 15, including a German brigadier general and "about a dozen" Americans, authorities said.

Details about the attack at Camp Qargha, a base west of the capital, Kabul, weren't immediately clear. Gen. Mohammmad Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Defence Ministry, said a "terrorist in an army uniform" opened fire on both local and international troops. Azimi said the shooter had been killed and that three Afghan army officers were wounded.

A U.S. official said one American soldier was killed and "about a dozen" of the wounded were Americans, but declined to comment further. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss details of the attack by name on the record.

Germany's military said one NATO soldier was killed, while 15 NATO soldiers were wounded in an assault launched "probably by internal attackers." The wounded included a German brigadier general, who the German military said was receiving medical treatment and was "not in a life-threatening condition."

In its statement, NATO said that it was "in the process of assessing the situation."

Qargha is known as "Sandhurst in the sand," as British forces oversaw building the officer school and its training program. In a statement, the British Defence Ministry said it was investigating the incident and that "it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

The attack comes as so-called "insider attacks" — incidents in which Afghan security turn on their NATO partners — largely dropped last year. In 2013, there were 16 deaths in 10 separate attacks. In 2012, such attacks killed 53 coalition troops in 38 separate attacks.

Such "insider attacks" are sometimes claimed by the Taliban insurgency as proof of their infiltration. Others are attributed to personal disputes or resentment by Afghans who have soured on the continued international presence in their country more than a dozen years after the fall of the Taliban's ultra-conservative Islamic regime.

Foreign aid workers, contractors and other civilians in Afghanistan are increasingly becoming targets of violence as the U.S.-led military coalition continues a withdrawal to be complete by the end of the year.

 

The Canadian Press

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