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US red-faced in Kabul

Kabul, July 31 (Reuters): US soldiers opened fire on a taxi at a checkpoint in Kabul today, wounding three officers of Afghanistan’s fledgling national army which US forces have been helping to train.

The embarrassing incident came a day after America’s top soldier, General Richard Myers, visited the country and said the security situation was improving.

Yesterday, Taliban guerrillas shot dead a Muslim cleric from a pro-government council in the south of the country, the third such attack in weeks.

And the US-led coalition hunting remnants of the ousted Taliban regime and al Qaida said it had killed at least three suspected Taliban near a US base in the east of the country last night.

Today’s shooting in Kabul came on the same road and less than two months after a suicide bomber in a taxi killed himself and five others, four of them German peacekeeping soldiers.

The attacker detonated a bomb while the taxi was overtaking a bus filled with peacekeepers heading for the airport to fly home at the end of their tour of duty.

More than 30 peacekeepers were wounded.

Mousa Khan, the driver of the taxi involved in today’s incident, said the US troops had given him no warning as he headed towards the checkpoint on the Jalalabad Road, where several US and peacekeeping bases are located.

“They just suddenly fired on my car,” he said, adding that the three soldiers sitting in front were wounded.

Wounding officers of the new fledgling national army will be an embarrassment for the Americans, who along with Britain and France have been training its recruits.

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