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KABUL, Afghanistan -- A member of the Utah National Guard was killed and another U.S. service member was wounded in an insider attack in Kabul on Saturday, when a member of Afghan security forces opened fire on them, officials said.

The wounded soldier was evacuated for medical treatment at Bagram Airfield, a U.S. military base about 35 miles north of Kabul, Debra Richardson, a spokesman for the NATO coalition in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

Richardson said the assailant was gunned down by other Afghan troops at the scene.

The Utah National Guard has confirmed that the service member killed was a member of the Guard. The service member's name was being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Sayed Javid Ghafoor confirmed the account.

Speaking by phone, he said the attack happened at a base in Kabul where foreign troops provide training for Afghan forces.

The motive for the attack -- the second insider attack at a base against foreign troops in less than two weeks -- was not immediately clear.

The Taliban praised Saturday's attack, saying it was conducted by a "sensible" Afghan.

Last month, U.S. military officials said they had halted most face-to-face contact with members of the Afghan security forces, and have temporarily withdrawn from Afghan security facilities, after two "insider" shootings that killed a top Afghan regional police commander and a Czech soldier.

On Oct. 18, the chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq, was shot dead as he was walking out of a meeting with Gen. Austin S. Miller, the top American officer in Afghanistan and NATO commander.

Miller, who was standing steps away, survived a second round fired in the direction of the other dignitaries.

As detailed in a New York Times report, a guard at the scene, who U.S. officials said they believed could have been a second infiltrator, shouted that the Americans had shot the Afghan general.

The U.S. military has struggled to contain the disinformation, and senior Afghan officials have tried to quash the rumor. The concern peaked after an Afghan commando opened fire on coalition forces on Oct. 22 in the west of the country.

The latest assaults have raised new concerns over attacks against coalition personnel by Afghans in uniform, which have killed more than 150 U.S. or coalition troops or contractors and wounded about 200 since 2008.

Such insider attacks peaked in 2012 but have declined steadily since then, with added vetting of Afghan recruits, extra guards accompanying foreign advisers, and the withdrawal of most foreign troops. However, there have been several such deadly attacks in the past two years.

Information for this article was contributed by Sayed Salahuddin of The Washington Post; and by Fahim Abed of The New York Times.

A Section on 11/04/2018

Print Headline: Afghan insider attack kills U.S. service member

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