US service member killed in insider attack in Afghanistan

A U.S. service member was killed and another wounded in an insider attack in Kabul on Saturday, when a member of Afghan security forces opened fire on them, officials said.

The wounded soldier was evacuated for medical treatment at Bagram Airfield, a U.S. military base about 35 miles north of Kabul, said Debra Richardson, a spokeswoman for the NATO coalition in Afghanistan, in a statement.

Richardson said the assailant was gunned down by other Afghan troops present at the scene.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Sayed Javid Ghafoor confirmed her account.

Speaking by phone, he said the attack happened at a base in Kabul where foreign troops provide training for Afghan forces.

The motive for the attack — the second insider attack at a base against foreign troops in less than two weeks — was not immediately clear.

The Taliban praised Saturday’s attack, saying it was conducted by a “sensible” Afghan.

Foreign troops for days avoided visiting Afghan bases some 10 days ago because of the threat of insider attacks, after a Czech soldier was gunned down by a commando serving in the Afghan forces.

Last month, U.S. military officials said they had halted most face-to-face contacts with members of the Afghan security forces, and have temporarily withdrawn from Afghan security facilities, after two “insider” shootings that killed a top Afghan regional police commander and a Czech soldier.

The latest assaults have raised new concerns over attacks against coalition personnel by Afghans in uniform, which have killed more than 150 U.S. or coalition troops or contractors and wounded about 200 since 2008.

Such insider attacks peaked in 2012 but have declined steadily since then, with added vetting of Afghan recruits, extra guards accompanying foreign advisers, and the withdrawal of most foreign troops. However, there have been several such deadly attacks in the past two years, including some at the hands of highly trained Afghan commandos.