Spanish troops clash with Afghan police in west
KABUL: Afghan police and Spanish troops clashed early Wednesday outside a base in western Afghanistan, local officials said.
Spain’s interior minister says an Afghan policeman taking part in a training course has opened fire on his instructors, killing two Spanish police officers and their interpreter.
Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba says the incident occurred Wednesday near a Spanish military base in western Badghis province.
He said Spanish police returned fire and killed the student.
Majid Khan Shkib, a member of the provincial council, said it wasn’t clear who had fired first and there were unconfirmed reports of casualties among the Spanish troops.
Shkib said there were suspicions that Taliban fighters, who are active in the remote area, had infiltrated the local police force — an increasingly common tactic among the insurgents.
Following the officer’s shooting, hundreds of area residents gathered at the gate to the Spanish camp, chanting and throwing stones before moving on to the provincial government offices, the officials said.
The international security force said it had been told of the incident and was investigating.
US troops faced a similar incident on Monday, when they fired warning shots to disperse a protest near the main coalition air base in Afghanistan over the arrest of a religious leader suspected of a rocket attack.
Also on Wednesday, Australia said one of its soldiers was among two international troops killed in fighting Tuesday in the volatile south, the other one an American.
A total of 49 foreign troops have been killed in Afghanistan this month, including 31 Americans, according to a count by The Associated Press. Australia, which has 1,550 troops in Afghanistan, has lost a total of 21 soldiers in fighting in the country.
Afghan and international forces have killed an estimated 40 Taliban fighters east of the Afghan capital Kabul since Friday as part of operations to provide security ahead of parliamentary elections next month, Nato said. —AP