Did Taliban behead 17 people for dancing? Maybe not.
Initial reports said 17 people were beheaded by the Taliban for dancing and singing. Taliban leaders fighting over two women triggered the killings, says a provincial official.
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As the NATO drawdown progresses, there has been a surge in attacks by Afghan forces against their international allies.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Talking to the Taliban
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A group of U.S. and Afghan soldiers came under an insurgent attack in Laghman province on Monday, said Noman Hatefi, a spokesman for the Afghan army corps in eastern Afghanistan. He said the troops returned fire and ran to take up fighting positions.
He claimed the two Americans were killed when an Afghan soldier fell and accidentally discharged his weapon.
"He didn't do this intentionally. But then the commander of the (Afghan) unit started shouting at him" 'What did you do? You killed two NATO soldiers!' And so he threw down his weapon and started to run," Hatefi said.
The American troops had already called in air support to help with the insurgent attack and the aircraft fired on the escaping soldier from above, killing him, Hatefi said.
NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Hagen Messer of Germany confirmed that two international soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier in Laghman province, but would not comment on whether the killing was intentional or accidental.
Insider attacks have been a problem for the U.S.-led military coalition for years, but it has exploded recently into a crisis. There have been at least 33 such attacks so far this year, killing 42 coalition members, mostly Americans. Last year there were 21 attacks, killing 35; and in 2010 there were 11 attacks with 20 deaths. The latest killings brought the number of Americans killed by allied forces this month to 12.
The chief spokesman for NATO forces in the country said coalition forces were not pulling back from collaborating with the Afghans because of the attacks.
"We are not going to reduce the close relationship with our Afghan partners," Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz told reporters in the capital.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that he could not confirm any link between the attacker in Monday's shooting and the insurgency. In previous insider attacks, the Taliban have quickly claimed responsibility and named the assailants.
Helmand officials also reported that 10 Afghan soldiers were killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the south, and five were either kidnapped or joined their assailants. Ahmadi, the provincial spokesman, said insurgents attacked the checkpoint in Washir district Sunday evening. Four soldiers were wounded he said. The Afghan Defense Ministry said the checkpoint was attacked by more than 100 insurgents.
Ahmadi said the five missing soldiers left with the insurgents but it was unclear if they were kidnapped or went voluntarily.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.