Taliban kill 10 Afghan police in insider attack

KANDAHAR: A rogue Afghan policeman drugged and then shot dead 10 of his colleagues in the country’s volatile south early on Tuesday, officials said, the second insider attack on police in just over a week.

The Taliban infiltrator then stole their weapons and fled the police outpost in the Chinarto district of Uruzgan province, authorities said, triggering a manhunt.

The attack just after midnight is part of the Taliban’s unprecedented winter campaign of nationwide violence despite a growing push to restart formal peace talks.

“Our investigation shows that this policeman collaborated with the Taliban, drugged his colleagues and killed them when they were unconscious,” Dost Mohammad Nayab, the spokesman for Uruzgan’s governor, told AFP.

Deputy provincial police chief Rahimullah Khan confirmed the account and said an operation had been launched to track down the killer.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, giving a different account, said nine policemen were killed after the militants captured the police outpost in Chinarto.

So-called insider attacks — when Afghan soldiers or police turn their guns on their colleagues or on international troops — have been a major problem during NATO’s long years fighting alongside Afghan forces.

On January 17, nine Afghan policemen were shot dead in Uruzgan by four rogue colleagues said to be Taliban infiltrators.

The Afghan military, which has been built from scratch since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, has struggled with insider attack killings, high casualty rates and mass desertions.

Stretched on multiple fronts as the insurgency expands, Afghan forces have largely fought the ascendant Taliban on their own since NATO’s combat mission formally ended in December 2014.

In recent months, the Taliban briefly captured the northern city of Kunduz, the first urban centre to fall to the insurgents in 14 years of war, and have seized territory in the opium-growing southern province of Helmand.

The uptick in violence comes amid renewed international efforts to revive peace talks with the Taliban, which is locked in a tussle for supporters with the Islamic State group.

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