Taliban insurgents overran an Afghan army post in the troubled southern province of Helmand in a predawn
attack, killing 10 soldiers, authorities have said.
Four soldiers were wounded and six others were missing following the attack in the province’s Washir district, a senior police official, Colonel Mohammad Ismaiel Hotak, told AFP news agency.
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“There was an attack on one of our posts in Washir district. Ten soldiers are dead in that attack,” said Hotak, the deputy head of the regional coordinating body for the Afghan army and the US-led NATO force.
Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Helmand provincial administration, confirmed the incident and said the attack was an “insider” plot in which some army soldiers helped the Taliban attack the post.
“The Taliban attacked a post in Washir and killed 10 soldiers. Four other soldiers were wounded and five others have gone with the Taliban with their guns,” he said. “It was an insider plot.”
Separate attack in Laghman province
Hotak could not confirm Ahmadi’s account but said an investigation was underway.
If it is confirmed that the attack was facilitated by soldiers, it will be the latest in a string of insider attacks on Afghan and NATO security forces.
Another such attack was reported in the eastern Laghman province, where an Afghan soldier turned his weapon on international troops, killing two. A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force declined to provide further details.
“ISAF troops returned fire, killing the [Afghan National Army] soldier who committed the attack,” the alliance said in a brief statement.
A total of 42 international troops, mostly Americans, have died in such attacks this year, as have more than 50 Afghan soldiers.
Taliban insurgents claim responsibility for many of the “insider” attacks, though NATO has tried to attribute most to cultural differences, stress and personal animosity between Afghan troops and international soldiers.
But last week general John Allen, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, acknowledged that the Taliban was responsible for a greater share of the attacks than the alliance had previously acknowledged.
The Afghan government said last week it would reexamine the files of some 350,000 soldiers and police to help curb rogue shootings of NATO personnel, but accused “foreign spies” of instigating the attacks.