NATO announced that it will recall all foreign advisers from their posts in Kabul, Afghanistan in the wake of the shooting deaths of two International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) military officers in the Kabul interior ministry.
The victims were both American, but their identities have not been revealed yet.
and the shooting caps five straight days of unrest in Afghanistan over reports that U.S. officers earlier burned copies of the Holy Quran at an air base.
General John R Allen, ISAF commander, said in a statement that for obvious force protection reasons, I have also taken immediate measures to recall all other ISAF personnel working in ministries in and around Kabul.
The order applies to hundreds of military and civilian advisers and officers.
Bernard Smith, an Al Jazeera correspondent in Kabul, commented that the withdrawal reflects NATO’s feeling that no place is secure for any of their advisers in Afghanistan.
A spokesman for ISAF, Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson told Al Jazeera TV that the pullout is necessary step to account for all our personnel ... and bring them into their safe housing areas in and around Kabul.
Meanwhile the Afghan interior ministry said the killings of the ISAF officials will be investigated, although Al Jazeera reported that Afghans have no part in the investigation into the deaths of the two [U.S.] advisers.”
Allen himself stated “we are investigating the crime and will pursue all leads to find the person responsible for this attack. The perpetrator of this attack is a coward whose actions will not go unanswered.
However, Allen also added: We are committed to our partnership with the government of Afghanistan to reach our common goal of a peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan in the near future.
The area in the ministry where the two Americans were killed is reportedly off-limits to all Afghans, with the exception of translators.
Taliban said in a statement that they were responsible for the shootings in retaliation for reports of the Quran burnings.
Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, identified the gunman as a man named Abdul Rahman. Mujahid also said that an accomplice who was already inside the ministry helped Rahman enter the heavily secured building.
However, the Taliban claimed they killed four, not two, Americans advisers.
After the attack, Rahman informed us by telephone that he was able to kill four high-ranking American advisers,'' Mujahid said.
Taliban have been known to exaggerate or entire falsify accounts of their activities.
Thus Captain John Kirby, a spokesman for the US defense forces, said in a statement there is much”speculation on [the] attack in Kabul. We do not know who killed [two] ISAF members or why.
Jacobson would not connect the recent shootings to the disturbances over the Quran.
We have seen an emotional week, we have seen a busy week - but it would be too early to say this incident was linked, he said, according to BBC.
It is very regretful to see the loss of life again on this day, and that includes the loss of life that we have seen around demonstrations.
Separately, four more Afghan protesters were killed and 34 were wounded when security forces fired on people demonstrating against the burning of the Qurans, according to Al Jazeera.
Three of the dead people had assembled outside a United Nations compound in Kunduz province.
At least 30 people have now been killed in Quran-related protests over the past five days.