KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan police officer shot and killed at least three U.S. Special Forces soldiers Friday after inviting them for a meal at a check post in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official said, in what appeared to be premeditated killings of U.S. soldiers by one of their Afghan allies.
Details remained sketchy, and Afghan and coalition investigators were still trying to piece together how the shooting unfolded as dusk approached. A dawn-to-dusk fast is being widely observed in Afghanistan as Muslims observe Ramadan.
The U.S. command in Afghanistan, which functions alongside the NATO-led coalition, issued a terse statement saying that three soldiers had been killed by a man in an Afghan uniform — standard phrasing used by military authorities here when a member of the Afghan security forces kills a coalition service member.
Afghan officials offered more details. Muhammad Sharif, the governor of Sangin, said a police commander had invited the Special Forces soldiers to eat at his check post. He then shot them when their guard was down and fled, Sharif said. He put the number of dead Americans at four.
But the coalition said the soldiers may have arrived not for a meal or for any other gathering when the shooting took place.
A prominent tribal elder said he had been told by local authorities that his son, Assadullah, 25, a police officer, was suspected of carrying out the killings at a check post in the village of Khanan, which lies near a base used by U.S. Special Forces soldiers.