| Updated at: 1158 PST, Tuesday, November 30, 2010|
ASADABAD: Six American soldiers training Afghan police in a Taliban flashpoint were shot dead by one of their students in the deadliest such incident in at least two years, officials said Tuesday.
The shooting, which follows a string of similar attacks on NATO troops, underscores the challenges faced by the US-led mission as it aims to build the national army and police to take responsibility for security by 2014.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the gunman, identified as a local resident who had been in training with Western troops for only a few days, was also killed, and an investigation was underway.
Wearing Afghan border police uniform, the man turned his weapon against ISAF troops during the training mission on Monday, killing the six soldiers in Taliban-infested eastern Afghanistan, NATO announced.
A US defence official identified the six troops as Americans but declined to give further details.
The deaths bring the number of coalition troop fatalities this year to 668. It is the highest annual toll since the US-led invasion in late 2001. Last year 521 NATO soldiers died.
A Taliban spokesman praised the attack in emailed comments carried by the SITE Monitoring service. Naming the attacker as Izzatullah, the spokesman said he had shot dead six US soldiers and wounded several others before being killed in return fire.