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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gunman kills two American military advisers with shots to the back of the head, NATO pulls workers.

Gunman kills two American military advisers with shots to the back of the head, NATO pulls workers.(BH).KABUL, Afghanistan - A gunman killed two American military advisers with shots to the back of the head Saturday inside a heavily guarded ministry building, and NATO ordered military workers out of Afghan ministries as protests raged for a fifth day over the burning of copies of the Quran at a U.S. army base.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Interior Ministry attack, saying it was retaliation for the Quran burnings, after the U.S. servicemen - a lieutenant colonel and a major - were found dead on the floor of an office that only people who know a numerical combination can get into, Afghan and Western officials said.
The top commander of U.S. and NATO forces recalled all international military personnel from the ministries, an unprecedented action in the decade-long war that highlights the growing friction between Afghans and their foreign partners at a critical juncture in the war.Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak called U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to apologize for the shooting and offer his condolences, Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement released in Washington."This act is unacceptable and the United States condemns it in the strongest possible terms," Little said.Security is tight in the capital, which is covered in snow, and foreigners working at the U.S. Embassy and at international organizations have been banned from leaving their compounds.
U.S. officials said they were searching for the assailant, who has not been identified by name or nationality.The two American service members were found by another foreigner who went into the room, according to the Afghan official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose details about the shootings. They were shot in the back of the head, according to Western officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information. Authorities were poring over security camera video for clues, the Afghan official said.Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid identified the shooter as one of their sympathizers, Abdul Rahman. He said an accomplice inside the ministry helped Rahman get inside the compound to kill the Americans in retaliation for the Quran burnings."After the attack, Rahman informed us by telephone that he was able to kill four high-ranking American advisers," Mujahid said. The Taliban often inflate death tolls and sometimes claim responsibility for killings they did not conduct.
An Afghan soldier turned his gun on foreign troops, killing two American soldiers, during one riot outside a U.S. base in Nangarhar province on Thursday. It was the latest in a rising number of incidents where Afghan soldiers or policemen, or gunmen wearing their uniforms, have killed NATO forces.
Last month, France suspended its training program and threatened to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan a year ahead of schedule after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French soldiers on a base in the east.
U.S. Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, met with Afghan Interior Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi, who offered both his condolences to the families of the victims and his apologies, Little said.
Afghanistan's interior and defense ministers are expected in Washington next week.
Allen said he recalled all NATO personnel from the ministries "for obvious force protection reasons" but also said the alliance remains committed to its partnership with the Afghan government. NATO forces have advisers embedded in many Afghan ministries. The advisers are helping to develop the ministries so that Afghans can take the lead by the end of 2014, when foreign combat forces are to transfer control of security to Afghan security forces.

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Karzai has said that the Afghan people have a right to protest the Quran burnings, but he urged them to demonstrate peacefully and refrain from destroying property. In a statement on Saturday, Karzai urged Afghan security forces to be patient with the protesters.In a statement, the U.N. mission in Afghanistan said the U.N. had deep respect for the Islamic faith and understood why Muslims were upset about the desecration of their holy book, but urged the demonstrators to exercise self-restraint and not let militants use the protests to foment violence.Hmmmm......January 20 Friday an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French soldiers, Another 16 French soldiers were injured, some seriously.No Korans were burned or desecrated before the shooting ! Just 'normal' Islamic extremism!Rest assured Pres Obama will probably release the five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo bay as a 'sign' of 'goodwill' to the Taliban.Read the full story here.More here.

Update: - A 25-year-old Afghan intelligence officer has been identified as “the main suspect” in the killing of two American military advisers inside the Interior Ministry building in Kabul, local media reports said Sunday.
Abdul Saboor joined the police forces two years ago and had one of the highest security clearances in the ministry. He is now believed to be on the run, local television Tolo quoted senior Afghan security officials as saying.Security forces have already raided his house in the north-eastern province of Parwan, just north of Kabul, and have detained several of his relatives, according to the reports. Source BM.

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