No sign of Taliban's hand in Kapisa shooting: ISAF
KABUL (PAN): The killing of four French troops would not undermine the confidence between Afghan security forces and their international partners, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Tuesday.
On Friday, an Afghan soldier opened fire on his French counterparts, killing four and wounding 17 others in the Tagab district of central Kapisa province.
Hours after the incident, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the suspension of training and joint operations in Afghanistan. He told diplomats in Paris: "We cannot accept that even one of our soldiers be killed or wounded by our allies."
An ISAF spokesman, addressing a media briefing in Kabul, called the killing of the French soldiers a tragedy. "But this will not have any negative effect on the mutual trust between Afghan and international soldiers."
Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson said the rogue Afghan soldier had been detained and the reason behind the attack would be known after the investigation was completed.
Seeing no signs of organised infiltration of the Afghan forces by Taliban militants, the spokesman said it was too soon to say that the insurgents were involved in shooting French soldiers dead.
Jacobsen added: "There are no indications of a systemic infiltration into the Afghan National Security Forces. Actually, this is something that we very carefully look at on a daily basis."
On Saturday, the militant movement said it had hired the Afghan soldier to kill the French troops. Two French Foreign Legion members and one American soldier were killed in similar assaults last month.
NATO senior civilian representative's spokesman, Dominic Medley, said:“Across Afghanistan Afghan and international soldiers live together, training and fighting as comrades with a shared goal of achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
Such tragic incidents like the murder of French soldiers last week would not be allowed to distort the high level of trust that exists between professional soldiers whether ISAF or Afghan National Security Forces, he added.
On Saturday, the Afghan Ministry of Defence announced the assailant had been arrested. Its spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi confirmed to Pajhwok Afghan News the attacker being investigated.
More than 50 foreign troops have been killed and as many wounded by their Afghan partners since 2005, according to data compiled by USA Today.
Of the 3,600 French soldiers fighting the rebels under ISAF command in Afghanistan, 82 have been killed since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban regime.
"We should accept the bitter reality that sometimes Afghan soldiers and sometimes their international counterparts had fired on each other," the ISAF spokesman said.