An Afghan teacher brought in to teach basic reading and writing to Afghan security forces, along with two Afghan soldiers, turned guns on American soldiers today, killing two, NATO officials said.
The trio opened fire with automatic rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade on a guard tower in southern Afghanistan staffed by American soldiers before dawn Thursday, according to Afghan and NATO officials. The attackers briefly escaped after the attack but were run down by a quick reaction force that included a helicopter, a NATO official said. The teacher and one soldier were killed, and the other Afghan soldier was captured.
Six American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in three separate incidents since the U.S. military admitted to burning the Muslim holy book, the Koran, sparking nationwide protests and riots. And so far this year, more than one in six of the NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been killed by their Afghan partners.
Last week, two high-ranking American military officers were murdered in Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry -- one of the most secure government complexes in the country -- allegedly by an Afghan police officer.
ISAF pulled all advisors from Afghan ministries following the shooting but said today some have been sent back with heightened "force protection."
Such so-called "green-on-blue" attacks by Afghan security forces on Western troops have become a growing concern in the military and several U.S. officials had said previously that another attack could sap what little political support for the Afghan Army there is among Americans.
Literacy teachers are paid for by the ISAF but are brought in by the Afghan army and police to teach local soldiers and officers how to read and write. NATO has invested $200 million in the literacy program that has trained over 100,000 Afghan soldiers and police.
The U.S. military has pushed to increase literacy rates among the Afghan security forces, which in 2010 was estimated at just 14 to 18 percent among new recruits.