Afghan police killed four American soldiers coming to their aid after a checkpoint attack Sunday, the third assault by government forces or insurgents disguised in military uniforms in as many days.
The escalating violence — including a NATO airstrike that killed eight Afghan women and girls gathering firewood — is straining the military partnership between Kabul and NATO as the U.S. begins to withdraw thousands of troops sent three years ago to route the Taliban from southern strongholds.
The attacks drew unusually strong criticism Sunday from the U.S. military’s top officer, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who called the problem of rogue Afghan soldiers and police turning their guns on allied troops “a very serious threat” to the war effort.
This year, 51 international service members have died at the hands of their Afghan allies or those who have infiltrated their ranks. At least 12 such attacks came in August alone, leaving 15 dead.
The surge in insider attacks is a sign of how security has deteriorated as NATO prepares its military exit from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The U.S. is days away from completing the first stage of its own drawdown, withdrawing 33,000 troops that were part of a military surge three years ago. The U.S. will remain with about 68,000 troops at the end of September.
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