Spaniards' Afghan killer suspected of Taliban links: report

28th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

The killer of two Spanish policemen and an interpreter in Afghanistan had long been suspected of links with the Taliban, the Spanish daily El Pais reported Saturday, quoting a regional governor.

An Afghan working as their driver killed a Spanish Civil Guard captain and second lieutenant along with their Iranian-born Spanish interpreter during a training session at their camp in Badghis Tuesday before troops shot him dead.

Delbar Jan Arman, governor of the western Badghis province, told the daily that the man had been arrested for questioning last year following a number of reports fingering him.

"But then other reports came in saying that he was doing good work in the police and was released," the governor added.

Hundreds of Afghan men tried to overrun the Spanish-administered base this week to protest the death of the local man, in an incident that left more than two dozen people injured.

El Pais said the killer was the brother-in-law of a top Taliban leader in the region, while adding that few people in Afghanistan did not have relatives among the insurgents.

Spain has 1,555 troops serving in the International Security Assistance Force, according to ISAF's website.

They are part of a 141,000-strong US-led NATO force deployed in Afghanistan to battle a Taliban-led insurgency nearing the end of its ninth year.

With the latest deaths, the number of NATO-led and US soldiers killed in Afghan violence this year reached 462, excluding the Spanish civilian interpreter.

The Spanish contingent runs a US-led civil-military operation known as a Provincial Reconstruction Team in poverty stricken Badghis province.

The Taliban posted an Internet message claiming the Afghan assailant had a "special connection" to their group, the SITE monitoring service said.

Several attacks on foreign forces by Afghans working with them have occurred in recent months.

In mid-July an Afghan soldier killed three British Gurkha troops on an army base, and last November an Afghan policeman shot dead five British soldiers at a checkpoint, both in the southern province of Helmand.

© 2010 AFP

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