Man in Afghan police uniform kills NATO service member
KABUL, Afghanistan — A man in an Afghan police uniform shot and killed an international service member on Sunday, NATO said, raising the death toll to 10 in such attacks in the space of just two weeks.
The surge in violence by Afghan allies against their international partners has raised doubts about the ability of the two forces to work together at a key transition time. Afghan forces are expected to take over security for the country by the end of 2014, when the majority of international combat forces are scheduled to leave.
On the other side, a coalition airstrike killed dozens of Taliban militants, including one of their leaders, officials said.
Few details were immediately available about Sunday’s killing of a coalition member in southern Afghanistan. NATO said only that they and Afghan authorities were investigating. Afghan officials could not be reached for comment.
The Taliban have been actively recruiting members of the Afghan security forces, saying in a statement last week that they considered these turncoat attacks a major part of their strategy against international forces.
Once an anomaly, these attacks have been climbing in recent months. There have been 30 such turncoat attacks so far this year, up from 11 in 2011.
On Friday it was disclosed that U.S. troops have been ordered to carry loaded weapons at all times in Afghanistan, even when they are on their bases. The order was a precaution against such insider attacks.
Insurgents killed two pairs of brothers with links to the government as well as three NATO service members in three separate attacks.
In the first attack, a bomb hidden in a cemetery in the southern province of Helmand killed a police chief and his brother who were visiting a family grave for the holiday.
Seven of the men’s family members were wounded in the early-morning blast in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, said the Helmand deputy police chief, Ghulam Rabbani.
No one claimed responsibility, but the attack was consistent with the Taliban’s strategy to target authorities and others who align themselves with the government or international forces.
The two men were brothers of a lawmaker for Helmand province, Abdulwadood Popal, who was not at the cemetery at the time of the blast. The family was visiting the grave after attending a morning prayer service for the holiday, which ends the month-long Ramadan fasting period.
Later in the western Farah province, gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on the car of an intelligence service official as he was driving home from a family visit, killing him and his brother, who worked for the customs service.