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News 21 Feb 12

Albanian Army Officer Killed in Afghanistan

One Albanian soldier has been killed and another gravely wounded on Monday in southern Afghanistan after an attack by gunmen in Afghan police uniform, officials said.

Besar Likmeta
BIRN
Tirana
ISAF soldiers patrolling in Kandahar. Souther Afghanistan | Photo by : Allauddin Khan | AP

Monday’s shooting occurred in the village of Robat, near Kandahar. The NATO troops had gone there for a meeting about opening two schools and a health center, the Albanian defense ministry said.

“Unexpectedly, the local police opened fire with five automatic weapons and a light machine gun,” the ministry said. 

In the ensuing firefight, the two officers of Albania’s peacekeeping mission Eagle 4 were shot and gravely wounded.

Captain Feti Vogli died later in a nearby military hospital, while corporal Aleksander Jak Peci is currently in a coma. Another international soldier was wounded during the attack.

According to the Albanian defense ministry, eleven suspected policemen were arrested.

Albanian President Bamir Topi denounced the attack as a “grave terrorist act” and called for the punishment of those responsible.

Despite the attack, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, reaffirmed his country’s commitments in a telephone conversation with the head of the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, Gen. John Allen.

"The Albanian government and its armed forces have faith that ISAF will successfully fulfill their historic mission and Albania remains determined to give its contribution," Berisha said in a statement.

Albania's contribution to the International Security Force in Afghanistan currently consists of 265 soldiers, including a combat platoon serving in three locations.

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