Four U.S. Troops Killed In Afghanistan; NATO Strike Kills 8 Afghan Women

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Four U.S. service members were killed by an Afghan police officer and a NATO airstrike killed eight women in separate attacks in Afghanistan on Sunday.

NATO says the attack on the coalition troops occurred at a remote checkpoint in southern Afghanistan. The Afghan officer escaped after the incident. Eight NATO troops have been killed in similar insider attacks over the past three days.

Here's more from The Associated Press about the recent attacks:

"Recent months have seen a string of such insider attacks by Afghan forces against their international counterparts. The killings have imperiled the military partnership between Kabul and NATO, a working relationship that is key to the handover of security responsibilities to Afghan forces as international troops draw down."

Afghan officials also said an alliance airstrike killed eight women who were gathering firewood in a remote eastern village before dawn Sunday. NATO said 45 insurgents, and no civilians were killed. The alliance did say it was investigating the claims of civilian casualties, the AP reported.

Sarhadi Zewak, a spokesman for the provincial government, told the AP that villagers from Laghman province's Alingar district brought the eight bodies to the governor's office in the provincial capital.

"They were shouting 'Death to America!' They were condemning the attack," he told the AP.

Provincial health director Latif Qayumi told the AP seven injured females were brought to area hospitals for treatment. He said some of them were as young as 10.

Update at 8:30 a.m.: More Details On Deaths Of U.S. Service Members

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells Linda Wertheimer, host of Weekend Edition Sunday, that the Americans were on patrol in Zabul Province, on the border with Pakistan.

Here's what she says:

"And apparently, what Western officials say is that they were several hundred feet away from what they thought were friendly forces when they opened fire. Four American service members were killed and a number of others were wounded. But the Afghan officials in Zabul province, including the deputy police chief that we spoke to, says that it was only one Afghan policeman who opened fire and that the Americans had actually gone to a checkpoint to assist 15 Afghan policemen who were saying they were under some kind of 'security threat.' They also mentioned that five other Afghan policemen are at large."

Soraya notes that at least 51 international troops have died this year at the hands of Afghan security forces or people posing in uniform.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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