KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (BNO NEWS) -- An Afghan soldier opened fire at coalition troops in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing one American service member and injuring another, officials said. A second American service member was killed in a roadside bomb attack.
"An individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against coalition service members in southern Afghanistan today, killing one service member," the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a brief statement. "The individual who opened fire was killed when coalition forces returned fire."
The multinational force did not release other details about the incident, including information about the gunman, the exact time and location of the attack, and whether there were any injuries. But a U.S. military official confirmed the victim was a U.S. marine while a second service member was injured, although his condition was not released.
The shooting attack, apparently carried out by an Afghan National Army soldier, is the latest in a series of attacks by Afghan security forces against foreign troops. "The incident is under investigation," ISAF said, although other details about such incidents or the outcome of any investigation are rarely made public.
Meanwhile, also on Sunday, an American service member was killed and two were injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in Paktika province, not far from the border with Pakistan. "It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities," ISAF said, giving no other details.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the roadside bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan, which comes days after the insurgent group announced the beginning of a so-called spring offensive against coalition forces in the war-torn country. The group has labeled the offensive 'Operation al-Farooq', a reference to a leading companion and adviser to the Prophet Muhammad.
"Amidst 'Operation Al-Farooq', part of spring offensives which is gaining momentum to clear the entire terrorist forces, the US, NATO, and so-called ISAF of our beloved homeland, Mujahideen (Muslim fighters) of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) Sunday carried out an IED attack on the invaders while on combat patrol [..] in Mata Khan," Mujahid said in a brief statement.
The deaths on Sunday raise the number of coalition troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year to 145, according to official figures. A total of 566 ISAF troops were killed in Afghanistan in 2011, down from 711 in 2010. A majority of the fallen troops were American and were killed in the country's south, which is plagued by IED attacks on troops and civilians.
There are currently more than 130,000 ISAF troops in Afghanistan, including some 90,000 U.S. troops and more than 9,500 British soldiers. U.S. President Barack Obama previously ordered a drawdown of 23,000 U.S. troops by the end of this summer, and foreign combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
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