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Two U.S. Navy Officers Killed by Insurgent Posing as Afghan SoldierTim King Salem-News.com
Weather is thawing and casualties will increase as Taliban fighters clash with Afghan and western forces.
(SALEM, Ore.) - The Navy has announced the death of two officers who were killed by an insurgent in Afghanistan posing as an Afghan soldier. Other violence there has claimed the lives of numerous Afghan National Police officers.
When I was covering the war there, I learned the disturbing fact that an almost countless number of Afghan National Army soldiers have deserted in recent years with their American Woodland camouflage uniforms.
They often bolt from the Kabul Military Training Center which is basic training, or 'boot camp' for Afghan soldiers.
In a land where the enemy has no distinguishing features, they become especially hard to identify when they are dressed as an ANA soldier.
Lieutenant Florence B. Choe, 35, of El Cajon, California, and Lt. j.g. Francis L. Toner IV, 26, of Narragansett, Rhode Island, died March 27th when an insurgent posing as an Afghan National Army soldier opened fire on personnel assigned to Combined Security Transition Command.
These sailors were at Camp Shaheen, Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan. This scene of the most recent American deaths is also the place where the first American was killed after Afghanistan was initially invaded.
Perhaps one reason that this problem has spiraled out of control, is because Afghan soldiers and police are paid pitifully low wages and they will tell you that is isn't enough to feed a family.
The Taliban pays more.
Another reason is that fighting in Afghanistan traditionally emerges from a lull around this time of year. It's because this frigid country grinds even enemy activity to a near halt for months as people on both sides simply endeavor to survive.
At any rate, these American sailors appear to have died from the act of cowardice, as the impostor had to assume another person's identity in order to accomplish their goal.
AFP reports that four Afghan police were killed in a rebel ambush in western Afghanistan Sunday, with three army commandos and 10 rebels dying in other violence, authorities said.
Three policemen were killed when militants attacked their vehicle near the western province of Herat, a police spokesman, Abdul Rauf Ahmadi, told AFP. A senior police officer was injured, he said.
Another officer was killed after a police post was ambushed by the rebels overnight elsewhere in the same province, Ahmadi said. Three Taliban were also killed in that raid, he added.
In other news from Afghanistan, seven insurgents were killed in a joint operation in the Helmand Province. They were attacked by Afghan and international troops in Girishk district, which is 530 km (330 miles) southwest of Kabul, on Saturday, according to the Afghan Defense Ministry.
In the Paktika Province, the Afghan army killed four insurgents after they came under a Taliban rocket attack and returned fire in the Angor Hada district. This location is 150 km (95 miles) south of Kabul. It happened on Saturday according to the the Defense Ministry.
In Herat, four Afghan policemen were killed and a local police chief wounded in a Taliban ambush in Karokh district, a spokesman for the regional police chief said. This happened 645 km (400 miles) west of Kabul on Saturday.
Also in Herat, three Taliban insurgents and one Afghan policeman were killed and two policemen wounded in a clash in Rabat Sangi district of Herat province on Saturday, a spokesman for the regional police chief said.
Special thanks to Jon Hemming; Editing by Paul Tait, who compiled this information, and also to Afghanistan News Center and the DoD for information in this article.
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