KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan teenager killed an American soldier in eastern Afghanistan by stabbing him in the neck while he played with a group of local children, officials said Monday.
The killing comes as the monthly U.S. death toll rose sharply in March to 14 with the start of the spring fighting season when the Taliban and other insurgents take advantage of improved weather to step up attacks.
Sgt. Michael Cable, 26, was guarding Afghan and U.S. officials meeting in a province near the border with Pakistan when the stabbing occurred last Wednesday, two senior U.S. officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
The attack occurred after the soldiers had secured the area for the meeting, but one of the U.S. officials said the youth was not believed to have been a member of the Afghan security forces or in uniform so it was not being classified as an insider attack.
The official said the attacker was thought to be about 16 years old, but the age couldn’t be verified.
The Afghan and American dignitaries were attending the swearing-in ceremony of Afghan Local Police in Shinwar district in Nangarhar province, senior district official Zalmai Khan said. Afghan Local Police, or ALP, recruits are drawn from villages and backed by the U.S. military.