Afghan officer kills 8 colleagues

Posted at 12:46 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 14:46:34-04

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan police officer turned his gun on his colleagues as they were manning a checkpoint in the volatile southern Zabul province before dawn on Thursday, killing eight policemen, an official said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan on Thursday, a roadside bombing killed 11 civilians and wounded three when the van they were travelling in hit the bomb in the country's north.

And in the Dihrawud district of Uruzgan province, two policemen were killed by a colleague in an apparent personal dispute, said district police chief Shah Muhammad.

In the Zabul attack, the perpetrator escaped the scene in Qalat, the provincial capital, taking weapons and vehicles with him, said Ghulam Jalani Farahi, the provincial deputy police chief.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf said the insurgent group was behind the attack and that the shooter "is now with us."

Insider attacks are commonplace among Afghanistan's security forces, often carried out by insurgent infiltrators. Two members of the international military stationed at Kandahar Airfield were shot dead by Afghan colleagues earlier this month. Both were members of Romania's special forces.

Last September, at least one U.S. serviceman was killed when an Afghan solider opened fire on a group of American troops in the eastern city of Jalalabad. That attack was claimed by the militant Hezb-i-Islami group, which this week finalized a peace agreement with the Kabul government, expected to be signed in coming weeks.

The international combat operation in Afghanistan largely ended in 2014, when it segued into a training and advisory mission with around 13,000 U.S. and NATO troops in the country. About 3,000 of the Americans are engaged in counter-terrorism operations.

Also on Thursday, a senior officer of the Afghan army's 205 Corps, Gen. Abdul Basir Sheerwand, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded in the Shah Wali Kot district of southern Kandahar province, the ministry of defense said.

Dawlat Waziri, the ministry's spokesman, said Sheerwand, a brigade commander in Kandahar, was involved in an anti-Taliban operation when the incident occurred.

Kandahar was the base of the Taliban's 1996-2001 government, before they were toppled in the U.S. invasion.

The province has been relatively peaceful in recent years, though military officials have said they believe that unrest in neighboring Helmand province is set to spill over into Kandahar during what is expected to be a summer of fierce fighting between the government and insurgents.

In northern Baghlan province, the 11 civilians killed in the roadside explosion were all from the same family, according to Jaweed Basharat, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

Five children and two women were among those killed and three family members were also wounded in the blast. They were travelling home to their village of Qaisar Khil when their van struck the bomb.

Basharat blamed the Taliban for the attack, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility from any group.