Rogue Afghan soldier kills two US civilians in training camp
Shooting comes as world leaders back handover of security powers by 2014
Published 21/07/2010 | 05:00
A RENEGADE Afghan soldier shot dead two US weapons trainers yesterday, on the day an international conference backed a plan to hand security to Afghan forces by 2014.
The two civilians were killed at an army training camp near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, a week after a rogue soldier killed three British troops in Helmand.
The attack heightened concerns over the quality of Afghan forces being trained by NATO to replace foreign soldiers fighting on the front line against the Taliban.
A United States military spokesman said the killings happened on a firing range, but it was not clear whether the killer was a recruit or an Afghan trainer. He died in the shooting along with another Afghan soldier.
Details of the incident were disclosed as foreign ministers and representatives from more than 70 countries and organisations endorsed a plan by Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai for his country's troops to lead the fight against the Taliban by 2014.
They included the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The international conference in Kabul set out the beginnings of an ambitious timetable for Mr Karzai's government to take responsibility for state-building and security.
A communique agreed at the conference welcomed Afghanistan's commitment to assume "full authority over its security".
The document stated: "The international community expressed its support for the president of Afghanistan's objective that (Afghan forces) should lead and conduct military operations in all provinces by the end of 2014."
Mr Hague told the conference that the handover should be "gradual and determined by Afghan capacity, but should be able to start soon".
The first districts to be handed over will be chosen at the end of this year, though Afghans are unlikely to take charge before spring 2011.
Delegates to the conference, including the foreign ministers of India, Iran and Pakistan, heard the Afghan rulers promise to clean up its government while setting deadlines to bolster trade, the economy and social services.
Mr Hague said: "It is very important that (the Afghan government) sticks to these plans and we said to their ministers it's important you implement these plans."
He also stressed that any solution to the eight-year-long insurgency required talks ending in a "just and inclusive political settlement".
Britain has lost 322 personnel since operations began in 2001 and casualty rates have risen in the past 18 months.
Taliban militants claimed that a rogue soldier killed three members of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, including a major, last week because of anger at British conduct, a claim denied by the Army.
NATO said a joint investigation was under way into the latest shooting. (©Daily Telegraph, London)