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Attack kills 3 coalition soldiers in Afghanistan

KABUL — A man in an Afghan National Army uniform killed three coalition soldiers on or near a US base Saturday, according to Afghan officials.

It was the first suspected insider attack since July. If confirmed, it would be the seventh this year, compared with about three times as many last year.

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Since this spring, Afghan forces have taken at least nominal responsibility for combat operations across the country, meaning a greatly reduced number of joint operations. In addition, US and NATO forces have stepped up measures intended to stop insider attacks, including rules about not being alone with Afghan soldiers.

General Dawlat Waziri, the deputy spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said the shooting took place around 10:30 a.m. in the city of Gardez in the eastern Afghan province of Paktia, when a man dressed in an Afghan soldier’s uniform opened fire on foreign troops, killing three. Afghan National Army soldiers then shot the attacker to death, he said.

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The NATO-led coalition, the International Security Assistance Force, confirmed the shooting but declined to characterize it as an insider attack pending further investigation.

“ISAF and Afghan officials are assessing the incident to determine the facts,” the coalition said in a news release.

Neither Afghan nor US officials would identify the nationality of the victims, but most international troops in the area are American.

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One Afghan government official in Paktia province, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to release details, confirmed that the attack took place inside the US base near Gardez, Forward Operation Base Lightning. Other officials did not confirm where in Gardez the shooting had taken place.

He said that the victims were US Special Operations troops who had been training Afghan soldiers and that the attacker was an Afghan National Army soldier.

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