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The rise of (un)friendly fire in Afghanistan

U.S. troops and Afghan National Army soldiers conduct a joint security patrol in Kandalay village in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, in this August 2011 file photo. ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images

The antagonism and violence between U.S. and other Western forces and the Afghan soldiers with whom they fight and train appears to be rising, at a time when America is trying to extricate itself from the nation's conflict.

On Friday four French soldiers were shot and killed by a gunman wearing an Afghan Army uniform in Tagab District, an area viewed as dominated by insurgent forces. In the past month, one U.S. soldier and two French Foreign Legion members were killed in separate attacks attributed to Afghan security forces, according to NATO statements.

The New York Times reports that, according to a classified coalition report, at least 58 coalition service members were killed in 26 separate attacks by Afghan troops and police between May 2007 and May 2011. The number represents 6 percent of all hostile NATO deaths in that four-year period.

The majority of attacks have occurred since October 2009.

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The classified report cited by The Times states, "Lethal altercations are clearly not rare or isolated; they reflect a rapidly growing systemic homicide threat (a magnitude of which may be unprecedented between 'allies' in modern military history)," and called official NATO statements disputing such threats as "disingenuous, if not profoundly intellectually dishonest."

The recent release online of video featuring U.S. Marines desecrating the corpses of Taliban fighters has only inflamed the contempt that exists between Afghan and Western forces.

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"The sense of hatred is growing rapidly," one Afghan Army colonel told The Times' Matthew Rosenberg. The officer described Afghan troops as "thieves, liars and drug addicts," and Americans as "rude, arrogant bullies who use foul language."

For more from the Times report click here.