- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 19, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — Violence spiked in southern Afghanistan as militants stormed a NATO military base and attacked a police checkpoint Tuesday, a day after gunmen wearing police uniforms killed a U.S. soldier.

The heaviest fighting in Afghanistan this summer has been in the south and east, where Afghan forces are increasingly taking charge of security from their NATO partners. That could signal a rocky transition as foreign combat troops are scheduled to withdraw by the end of 2014.

Most of the attacks in the past two days occurred in the southern Kandahar province, the Taliban’s birthplace.

Insurgents attacked a NATO base before dawn Tuesday in Kandahar’s Shah Wali Kot district, but no alliance troops were killed, the U.S.-led coalition said.

“Initial reports indicate that seven insurgents launched an attack on a NATO installation and initially were successful in breaching the outer security perimeter,” NATO said in a statement. “Current reporting indicates all the attackers have been killed.”

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was targeting troop sleeping quarters.

Provincial government spokesman Javid Faisal said initial reporting indicated that at least one foreign worker was killed and two others were wounded.

A few hours later, militants wearing Afghan police uniforms attacked a police checkpoint in Kandahar city.

Three policemen were killed and nine others were wounded during an hourlong gunbattle, according to the Ministry of Interior. Four militants also died.

The Taliban again claimed responsibility and said the clash lasted six hours.

The U.S. and other foreign troops increasingly have been targeted by Afghan security forces or militants wearing their uniforms.

On Monday, three gunmen dressed in Afghan police uniforms killed one American soldier and wounded nine others in Kandahar’s Zhari district, U.S. officials said.

Mr. Faisal, the spokesman for Kandahar province, said the attackers fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the coalition forces and then fled.

The Defense Department said Army Pfc. Jarrod Lallier, 20, of Spokane, Wash., died after his unit was attacked with small arms fire and grenades. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C.

Efforts to draw down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan rely on the Americans working closely with their Afghan partners to train and mentor them so that they can take responsibility for the security of their country.

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