2 Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan killed

By David Nakamura  
Wednesday, August 25, 2010; 3:01 PM

KABUL - Two Spanish soldiers were shot dead by their Afghan driver while conducting training of local police forces Wednesday, a Spanish official said, raising fears that the Taliban is employing a new strategy of infiltration to kill Western troops.

Spain's interior minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, said at a news conference in Madrid that the driver had worked for the Spanish military for five months. But he also suggested that the attack was premeditated and that the driver, who was killed when Spanish troops returned fire at the scene, might be a member of the Taliban who had disguised his affiliation.

"The person who opened fire knew exactly what he was doing. Therefore, this was a terrorist attack," Perez Rubalcaba told reporters.

The incident took place at a training center in Badghis province in the northwest, where Spanish forces are training police recruits as part of a broader NATO effort to turn over responsibility for security to the Afghan army and police. Initial reports suggested that the Afghan shooter was a police recruit who had been undergoing weapons training.

Intentional shootings of foreign troops by Afghans have caused growing concern, as well as fear that Taliban members are secretly taking jobs that put them in proximity to foreigners. But evidence of such ploys has been largely unconfirmed, and it remains unclear whether the incidents are isolated or part of a coordinated strategy by insurgents.

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