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Afghan troop sentenced to hang for deaths

July 17, 2012 at 8:51 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan, July 17 (UPI) -- An Afghan soldier who killed five French soldiers in January was sentenced to death by hanging, officials said.

Abdul Saboor is thought to be the first Afghan soldier to have been captured and sentenced for fatally shooting members of the coalition force, the BBC reported Tuesday.

The military court sentenced Saboor to die after finding him guilty of opening fire on French forces during a joint operation in Kapisa province. Soon after the killings, France announced it would speed up withdrawal of its forces.

Officials said the Afghan soldier opened fire Jan. 20 after a "verbal clash" while Afghan and French troops were searching for a local Taliban leader. Four soldiers died at the scene and the fifth died later of his wounds. Several other soldiers were injured.

An intelligence agent told the British broadcaster Saboor fired 120 bullets.

Saboor can appeal his sentence.

The BBC said at least 26 coalition troops have been killed in 18 similar incidents so far this year.

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