01 August, 2014 / Shawwal 4, 1435

Italian soldier killed by Afghan counterpart: Nato

Published Jan 20, 2011 03:31pm

Italy's defense minister said at the time that one Italian soldier was shot to death and another wounded Tuesday in Bala Murghab district of Badghis province. -AP File Photo

KABUL: An Italian soldier who was killed this week in western Afghanistan was shot by an Afghan soldier, not by insurgents as originally reported, Nato said Thursday.

Italy's defense minister said at the time that one Italian soldier was shot to death and another wounded Tuesday in Bala Murghab district of Badghis province. Nato called the incident an ''insurgent attack.''

On Thursday, the coalition issued a new statement correcting the account, saying that the two soldiers were cleaning their weapons at a combat outpost when an Afghan soldier approached them with an M16 rifle and asked to use their equipment to clean his gun.

The Italians saw that the Afghan soldier's rifle was loaded and asked him to unload it, at which point the Afghan soldier shot the two Italians and escaped from the base, Nato said.

Such turncoat shootings are uncommon among the Afghan forces fighting alongside coalition troops, but they have appeared to increase over the past year as both Nato and Afghan forces work more closely together.

In some cases, such shootings have been a result of arguments that turned violent; in others, the Taliban has claimed that Afghan shooters were sleeper agents.

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