Overseas Civilian Contractors

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Nato soldiers and one foreign contractor killed in shootout with Afghan officer

The Guardian     April 27, 2011

Officer said to be veteran Afghan air force pilot fired on US military mentors, killing eight soldiers and a civilian contractor

Eight Nato soldiers and a foreign civilian contractor have been killed after a shootout in Kabul between an Afghan air force officer and his US military mentors.

The incident, which happened at about 11am on Wednesday, is one of the worst episodes yet involving Afghan soldiers turning their weapons on their foreign colleagues.

The Afghan defence ministry claimed the shooting broke out following an argument. However, a Taliban spokesman has claimed the officer was an insurgent who had infiltrated the force.

The killings occurred in a management office responsible for overseeing air traffic control on the second floor of a building in the Kabul headquarters of Afghanistan‘s air force, where the officer had been working.

The man, who a pilot contacted by the Guardian named as 50-year-old Ahmad Gul, was killed during the shooting.

Because it happened in an office environment in a secure building, none of the Nato soldiers – almost certainly all Americans – would have been wearing protective body armour, although they all would have had personal firearms.

A spokesman for the air force said that people in other offices in the building thought the huge facility that shares the same runway as Kabul’s civilian airport was under attack.

“Some of the other officers thought it was a suicide bombing and they jumped out of second-floor windows to try to escape,” said Lieutenant Colonel Badur.

The incident, which happened as most of the country’s pilots and top brass were meeting elsewhere to discuss plans for Thursday’s Victory Day national celebrations, is yet another setback for western hopes of handing over security duties to the Afghan army.

It follows a series of incidents where foreign soldiers have been killed either by angry Afghan servicemen, undercover insurgents or Taliban wearing illegally acquired uniforms.

The government said the shooter, who had 20 years’ experience flying planes under the various regimes that have ruled Afghanistan, was shot and killed during the fight. But according to the pilot contacted by the Guardian, Gul rejoined the force only five months ago, having been out of work for nearly a decade.  Please see the original here

April 27, 2011 - Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , ,

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