A soldier wearing an Afghan National Security Forces uniform shot dead three foreign special-forces personnel Saturday and wounded another, Afghan and Western military officials said, in the first apparent insider attack in several months.
"Three International Security Assistance Force service members died when an individual wearing an Afghan National Security Forces uniform shot them in eastern Afghanistan today," ISAF said in a statement.
Gen. Zahir Azimi, Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, confirmed the attack.
"We can confirm that three ISAF service members were killed and one wounded by an individual wearing an ANSF uniform in Gardez," he said.
Gardez is the capital of eastern Paktia, a volatile province that shares a porous border with Pakistan and is a hub for the Haqqani network, an insurgent group associated with the Taliban.
NATO officials have not disclosed the nationalities of the victims, but all the soldiers on the base where the attack occurred are believed to be American, according to The Associated Press.
An Afghan official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the three soldiers killed were special forces, but also declined to provide their nationalities. Agence France-Presse reported that a U.S. defense official confirmed to the news agency that the three victims were American.
The attacker was shot dead by Afghan soldiers immediately after the incident, said Azimi.
Attacks by Afghan soldiers on their allies in the NATO-run ISAF force have become a serious problem, threatening to further undermine waning support for the war among Western nations sending troops here.
Last year saw a record number of such attacks. Figures have dropped considerably in 2013, partly due to increased security and a reduction in interaction between Afghan soldiers and their foreign counterparts, Western officials said.
There are currently about 87,000 NATO-led troops fighting alongside about 350,000 Afghan security forces against the Taliban, in a war that has been ongoing since 2001.
U.S. forces provide the bulk of ISAF troops in the east where Saturday’s attack took place. The incident was the seventh reported insider attack this year, through which 12 ISAF personnel have been killed.
The last reported insider attack was on July 9, when an Afghan soldier at a military base in Kandahar shot dead one Slovak soldier and wounded up to six others.
Al Jazeera and wire services